Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Steelers trade for OT Levi Brown

It looks like I spoke too soon when I called the Ravens' trade for Eugene Monroe "idiotic".  This move by the Steelers has significantly moved the bar for idiocy, making the Ravens look just "a little bit slow" in comparison.

I've already discussed the screwed up nature of the Steelers' offensive line in a previous post.  Basically, it boiled down to the idea that the Steelers seem to value bulk more than actual athletic ability.  The acquisition of Levi Brown continues this trend of large but oafish busts.

NAME  Height  Weight     Arm 40 yard   Kangaroo     Agility
Levi Brown 6' 5.4" 323 33.125" 5.40 -0.560 -0.516

Basically, Levi Brown has significantly below average power (based on the Kangaroo Score), below average agility, horribly below average speed (which, perhaps surprisingly, does matter for OTs), and below average reach (based on arm length).  Add to that a poor history of on the field performance in Arizona, and I have to ask, how could this possibly go wrong?  I'm sure Levi Brown will magically change for the better upon his arrival in Pittsburgh.  Surely it was the dry Arizona climate that was holding him back, and not just incompetence/inability on his part.

The main reason this trade troubles me is that it demonstrates a constant problem that plagues the league, which is the continued overvaluing of former first round picks (Brown was the 5th overall pick in 2007).  Regardless of how a player under-performs, if they were selected in the first round, they basically go through their career with a "1st round pick" merit badge pinned to their chest, ensuring that people will continue to give them future opportunities at redemption.  There is always some team that thinks they can cleverly salvage these players' careers, rather than just admitting that these players never should have been selected as highly as they were.

While players such as Levi Brown routinely get selected too highly in the draft, others who might be better sometimes get ignored.  You would think the cream would eventually rise to the top, and it often does, but inevitably this process gets delayed by the continuing affection for former first round draft picks who never lived up to the hype, yet remain in the spotlight.  Really look at the merits of Levi Brown, and tell me why anyone believes he is salvageable?  Then tell me that there isn't some gifted individual out there, perhaps wasting away on a teams practice squad, who might one day be good, if only the coaches weren't afraid to give a chance to someone with a lesser history of popular acclaim?

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