Two members of the Steelers’ 2012 draft class wound up getting into trouble with the law during their rookie seasons and that’s led to a different approach to researching prospects this year.
General manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin each talked about the team’s decision to start spending more time with the families of players they are considering drafting. Colbert said that Tomlin has been proactive about speaking to family members of players the team drafted for a few years and that the rest of the team worked to “extend the program” this time around by speaking to relatives at or after pro days.
“I just think it helps us develop a more complete picture about who and what a player is, and maybe more importantly, what he is capable of being,” Tomlin said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “I think the more you look at where they come from and who they come from, it helps you paint that well-rounded picture.”
Defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, a fourth-round pick last year, faced a laundry list of charges after a DUI incident that featured him nearly running over a police officer while trying to avoid capture. The team cut him in November, but brought him back to the practice squad a couple of days later. They did not bring back fifth-round pick Chris Rainey, cutting him in February after the running back was arrested for hitting his girlfriend. Rainey had other legal issues during his rookie season and has not landed with a new team.
No team can thrive if they regularly miss on draft picks, especially not ones transitioning their roster the way the Steelers have been doing over the last couple of years. A little extra research and knowledge about who they’re picking can only help teams avoid problems like Pittsburgh faced last year.