That's an unusually long title, but in the era of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, and others of that nauseating corporate ilk, football fans have proven they can take it.
I just finished watching the final tape and can therefore begin my draft coverage. So my goal is to choose an All-Bowl team of worthy candidates, but with the schemes and needs of the Steelers in mind.
Here's the offense:
QUARTERBACKS -- Johnny Manziel received all the hype for rallying -- even willing -- Texas A&M past Duke on New Year's Eve, and it was quite a showcasing of his competitive spirit. But let's stop with the "he makes all the throws" commentary until we see him throw that out from the far hash in Cleveland Stadium in December. Or even October. I've watched that throw die on Manziel in late college games. His bowl game was played in a dome, and thus the hype over his very ordinary arm strength has grown. The Browns should keep that in mind when they pick fourth, but I pointed out to my daughter that Fresno State's Derek Carr looked more like a natural Browns QB during his 45-20 loss to USC.
But ha ha the Steelers have their own problems drafting QBs who don't fall into their lap in the first round. So which dog will entice the Steelers in the middle rounds this time?
Mickey Tettleton's kid led the vaunted Ohio ground game to three consecutive bowl games during his career. How about mouthy option QB Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois? A.J. McCarron brought back memories of Tee Martin when he got a photographer hurt during a woeful incompletion for Alabama. Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas may have made the play of the bowl season when he jacked Myles Jack on a run play, but Thomas will end up in the third round because of his size and his arm and his legs and not because of his efficiency.
The Steelers wouldn't look that early, so I give the fifth-round edge to Stephen Morris because he reminds me of Joe Gilliam with that buggy whip of an arm.
As for the best of the best, Blake Bortles was in my top 10 before his ugly performance in an upset of Baylor that for some reason has caused his stock to skyrocket. Watch the C-USA title game for a better look at Bortles, who's still not a better prospect than Teddy Bridgewater.
RUNNING BACKS -- LSU power back Jeremy Hill ran for 216 yards in his bowl game and then declared for the draft, but don't get too excited, Steelers fans. His resume includes grievances filed with police by an underage female and later a bar patron Hill allegedly sucker punched from behind. Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona also looks the part but will go too high for a team that found its starting running back last year, and the same goes for Bishop Sankey and Andre Williams.
That's fine, but the Steelers have zero depth. James White has played the part of back-up to the stars throughout his entire career at Wisconsin before closing with a 107-yard performance, as a back-up, in his bowl game. Tre Mason, Devonta Freeman and De'Anthony Thomas look like the type of small, quick backs the Steelers could use, but I'll side with Baylor's Lache Seastrunk because of the eye-popping quickness he put on display against Central Florida.
WIDE RECEIVERS -- My boy Kelvin Benjamin made the biggest catch of the entire bowl season, but the giant who would-be superstar with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback probably didn't show enough technical proficiency to warrant being chosen over a fat nose tackle with a bum knee (excuse me, but I'm just coming to grips with ARII saying he wants run-stoppers). All nasty remarks aside, Benjamin is a monster who can hang in the air like Jordan but who for some reason was ignored -- not not-thrown-to ignored, but flat out IGNORED at the line of scrimmage and during dropbacks -- by his own QB, and that makes me think about raising a red flag. But I won't.
As for the other big receiver to pair opposite Antonio Brown and bring the Steelers' offense into balance, Mike Evans started his bowl game with a pair of personal fouls that just didn't help a guy I have yet to see attempt to jump. Granted, I haven't watched the A&M-Alabama game yet, but some tall athletes never learn to jump because they've never had to.
I could ramble on here for hours about the long list of talented wide receivers who appeared in these bowl games, but I believe the second-best receiving performance was turned in by Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt. He showed his friendly precision, but also ran after the catch and returned kicks like a pro with a legitimate burst. Marqise Lee, the USC captain, performed admirably on an injured ankle, and he may be the guy at 15. But would the Steelers draft another smallish receiver? In such a deep class of receivers? Lee looks like a more quiet and serious Steve Smith, and after that ridiculous Carolina-San Fran playoff game, a talented receiver who can keep his mouth shut deserves serious consideration in my book. Sammy Watkins, of course, was a superior being in his bowl game and will be gone before pick 15.
An interesting sleeper is Oklahoma State's Tracy Moore, a big possession receiver who took on several serious collisions in clutch third-and-long situations and held onto the ball like he was Hines Ward or something. Cody Hoffman is another like Moore, and such talented WRs will be available late because of the depth at the position.
TIGHT ENDS -- Another position that's so deep I may have to go with a player I barely even watched play his bowl game. That's because I wasn't aware Notre Dame's Troy Niklas was contemplating an early departure. But he did declare, and the raves about his blocking haven't stopped. He's athletic and has soft hands, so he could easily become Heath Miller's heir apparent.
But, again, this is a deep position that will line up behind Eric Ebron, who, if he runs as well as expected at the combine, will become a natural comparison to Vernon Davis. Ebron overcame two early drops to dominate his bowl game and remain ranked ahead of Jace Amaro, the pass-catching star from Texas Tech who can block surprisingly well when asked. More "flex" tight ends have been showing that in recent years.
With so many quality tight ends, someone like C.J. Fiedorowicz, the 6-6 all-around TE from Iowa, might become available in a middle round. Fiedorowicz put up his best stats of the season -- 4 for 46 -- against LSU in his bowl game.
OFFENSIVE LINE -- Don't mind that I move some of these guys around to my own personal liking, because that's my perogative as a TV scout-turned-blogger (who's provoked several odd inquiries of late, BUT I'M NOT IN MY MOM'S BASEMENT!)
I'm in her den. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, I'm moving Notre Dame LT Zack Martin to center for my team because A.) I was so impressed with him as a smallish left tackle and B.) I didn't focus on any of the centers (except for Mad Stork of Florida State because I watched that game so many times) since the Steelers showed this year they have four players capable of playing the position.
So that leaves LT open for Greg Robinson and I can move Jake Matthews back to the RT position he played the previous year. Not that Matthews is a better RT than he is a LT, but the son of Bruce Matthews deserves mention in this story because of my respect for Jake's skills and pedigree. But I don't think he has a better pro future than Robinson, the Auburn sophomore who declared he was coming out early.
That leaves the guard positions, and one, left guard, goes to Baylor monster Cyril Richardson, and let me give the other guard spot to Alabama LT Cyrus Kouandjio, who struggled in pass protection against the Oklahoma speed rushers but who is a serious and devoted road grater in the run game.
The one sleeper I'll keep my eye on during the draft is Miami RT Seantrel Henderson, a 6-7 1/4, 345-pounder who's been suspended multiple times and finished his career in a rotation. If he lasts late, he should be considered because with two high draft picks already competing at RT in Pittsburgh, Henderson would stay focused and possibly reach his immense potential.
STEELERS' STYLE ALL-BOWL TEAM OFFENSE
QB -- Stephen Morris, Miami
RB -- Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
WR -- Marqise Lee, USC
WR -- Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
WR -- Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
TE -- Troy Niklas, Notre Dame
LT -- Greg Robinson, Auburn
LG -- Cyril Richardson, Baylor
C -- Zack Martin, Notre Dame
RG -- Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
RT -- Seantrel Henderson, Miami