Draft Nightmare Over

A failed drug test knocked Mike Adams out of consideration for the Steelers, but Jim Wexell still had a difficult time settling on a leader for his final draft oddsboard.

Upon taking office back in 1974, Gerald Ford told America that "our long national nightmare is over."

Similar sentiments were forwarded to me Thursday upon the breaking news that Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams had tested positive for marijuana at the combine.

You may recall my column a few weeks back in which I wrote of my own nightmare over the Steelers drafting Adams in the first round. And you may have tweeted to me something along the lines of "You can rest easy now, Jim."

Because I can. And I am.

Adams is a massive, talented, athletic, intelligent but confoundingly enigmatic player whom I must no longer ponder as a potential Steelers first-round draft pick. He has to be off of their draft board now, or at least well under their first-round radar.

Yes, it's only marijuana, and, yes, the weed is pert-near legal in several states. But here's the kicker: Adams knew he was being tested, and still failed.

Here's what former NFL general manager Charlie Casserly had to say about the news Thursday on the NFL Network:

"You have a test you know is coming so if you fail it you either have a problem you can't control, you're not very smart, or you don't care. None of those things is very good."

Whether you like Adams's potential, or whether you stayed up nights in fear that your team would select him, you have to appreciate that at least more light has been shed on the process. And as a pundit, a prognosticator, even a handicapper of the Steelers' draft, I appreciate the clarity, no matter how slight.

So here are my updated odds for the Steelers' first draft pick:

* Dont'a Hightower (7-2) – No red flags have come forth about his surgically repaired knee, so my belief is he'll be gone before the Steelers take their turn. But I just can't find anyone else to install as a favorite. The Steelers' first-round pick appears to be wide open. Betting the Field might be the wise move this year.

* Cordy Glenn (9-2) – Wouldn't mind if this guy disappeared from the board as well. Glenn does have the size and versatility the Steelers covet, but shouldn't they also covet intelligence, fitness and someone who bends with his knees instead of his waist?

* Nick Perry (6-1) – Outside linebackers are the lifeblood of the Steelers' defense and James Harrison is fading. Perry played defensive end at USC and gave fits to the best offensive tackles in the conference. He might've been the best natural athlete at the combine and after turning 22 last week fits the Steelers' youth requirement for first-round picks.

* Dontari Poe (7-1) – Poe has the size and athletic ability to make any line coach salivate. But will he fall to 24? And will the top brass look past his lack of production at Memphis? He's another who'll enter the season as a 22-year-old.

* Luke Kuechly and David DeCastro (8-1) – These are my favorites. Since so few teams need ILBs, Kuechly has a chance to slip to pick 24. But would Tomlin want him? I shudder to think that he wouldn't. DeCastro, the exquisite guard from Stanford, won't fall all the way to 24, but if he comes close there's a chance the Steelers would trade up for him.

* Shea McClellin and Kevin Zeitler (10-1) – McClellin was a DE at Boise State and would be an OLB in the Steelers' scheme. He's one of the few "tweener" prospects who's demonstrated the ability to cover running backs deep down the field. But the word is he'll be gone by pick 20. Zeitler would be a satisfying fallback or trade-down option for the Steelers.

* Field (4-1) – Put your Jonathan Martin, Bobby Massie, Courtney Upshaw, Doug Martin, Coby Fleener, Amini Silatolu, even longshot Lavonte David into one ball here and take your shot. Seems to be a good year for it.


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