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.
Just to clarify, this is not an All-Draft team, but an All-Bowl team with the Steelers' schemes and drafting position in mind. There's a difference.
Here's the defense:
DEFENSIVE LINE -- The top nose tackle in the draft, Louis Nix, was out with an injury, and the most talented nose tackle in the country, Ra'shede Hageman, isn't really a nose tackle. I guess he can be anything he wants to be because when his motor's running hot Hageman plays like Jefferson after Spicoli wrecked his car in "Fast Times." But the 6-6, 318-pounder really shouldn't be a NT in the NFL, so he can be my 5-tech any day.
So can Jadeveon Clowney. The guy reminds us all of "The Freak," Jevon Kearse, when he was coming out in 1999. The Steelers actually had a shot at Kearse, but told themselves he wasn't a scheme fit and drafted Troy Edwards instead.
By the way, that's George Costanza you hear in the background smacking himself in the head because he didn't come up for coffee.
Hey, if the Steelers can get talent like Clowney, or Hageman for that matter, change the scheme to suit that talent, because, frankly, the talent would be here longer.
Just to explain the elimination of the other DE contenders before I ponder an All-Bowl NT, Scott Crichton, Trent Murphy, Will Sutton, Kony Ealy and Timmy Jernigan all played well in their bowls but are strictly 4-3 players.
I can hear the Jernigan fans calling for a Chris Hoke-style smaller-quicker-tougher NT, but the 4-3 teams will value Jernigan more highly than those 3-4 teams looking for him to transition.
The best I could find at NT in the bowl games might've been Oklahoma State's Calvin Barnett, a big 4-3 DT with quick feet and plenty of enthusiasm to adapt to change. He had trouble with double teams but was still strong enough to make a couple of one-armed tackles while engaged with Missouri OL. Projected as a sixth-rounder by NFLDraftScout.com, Barnett looks like a young Al Woods as a versatile back-up for now.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS -- The biggest play was made by Missouri's Michael Sam, but his sack/strip/ (TD by a teammate) to secure the Cotton Bowl was his only play. The other obvious contenders -- Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr -- flashed the skills that will cause them to be drafted earlier than 15th, but they didn't have particularly strong bowl games.
At least neither had a better bowl game than Dee Ford. The Auburn DE-who'll-turn-OLB had two sacks and numerous pressures in the BCS title game. Ford is now getting rave reviews at the Senior Bowl and probably won't last until the second round.
An interesting middle-round project is Carl Bradford of Arizona State. He shocked coach Todd Graham by coming out early, but perhaps his performance against Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl impressed NFL scouts. He's now considered a third-rounder by NFLDraftScout.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS -- C.J. Mosley is a solid run-stopper who can get back in coverage, get to the sideline, or get to the quarterback. He's a boss. He's a future captain. He just didn't play all that well in his bowl game against Oklahoma (or against Auburn the previous game for that matter).
Kyle Van Noy was better in his bowl game, and Van Noy, at 6-3 1/4, 244, would be a better matchup for the Gronkowskis of the NFL world in coverage. Van Noy would also provide a sudden pass rush up the middle since he's been a stand-up edge rusher for BYU. Van Noy was said to have finally recovered from nagging injuries at bowl time, and his work off the edge, in coverage, and as a spy of Washington QB Keith Price displayed his old range. The analysts don't seem to care much about him, though, so he could make an ideal second-round projection to the inside buck position.
My other inside linebacker spot goes to Jordan Zumwalt, the UCLA linebacker who knocked gargantuan QB Logan Thomas out of the Sun Bowl with a sudden, high and vicious blow as Thomas was scrambling in the flat. Zumwalt made 10 tackles that day, was named Co-MVP, and his coach, Jim Mora, called it "the best game I have ever seen him play." Zumwalt checked into the Senior Bowl at 6-4, 231 and should be available in the fourth or fifth rounds.
Another consideration was Michigan State's Denicos Allen, who's been one of the top playmakers for the Spartans all season. At 218 pounds, Allen's the exact weight as former college linebacker Carnell Lake, who became a Pro Bowl strong safety for the Steelers. Allen's not quite 6 feet, nor is he expected to run a 4.4 40, but a move to strong safety shouldn't be ruled out.
CORNERBACKS -- The two guys I picked here are sleepers as opposed to the big two -- Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert. Neither of the big two had particularly stellar bowl games. Dennard was uncharacteristically soft against the Stanford running game. He's a physical press-man corner who has yet to show any off-coverage ability. Analyst Mike Mayock just lamented from the Senior Bowl that Dennard needed to show up and show the NFL he can play in a zone. The fact Dennard passed on Mobile, Mayock said, causes the league to believe Dennard knows he has problems in that regard.
Gilbert did intercept his seventh pass of the season in the Cotton Bowl, but he was soft against the run and was outplayed in the game by Missouri CB Edwin Gaines, who intercepted his fifth pass of the season and was quite physical against the run with five more tackles than Gilbert. Gaines (5-11.6, 200) is bigger than Gaines (5-9.3, 195) but didn't look it on this night. Gaines could still be on the board at the bottom of the third round.
My other All-Bowl CB is Duke's Ross Cockrell, who was mainly responsible for Mike Evans' frustrating start to the Chickp-fil-A Bowl (two personal fouls) and his 4-72-0 stat line among A&M's 382 passing yards and 52 points. Listed at 6-0, 183-pounder, Cockrell has a dozen career interceptions and could be available as late as the fourth round.
SAFETIES -- HaHa Clinton-Dix of Alabama and Calvin Pryor of Louisville are the likely first-rounders, but, again, neither made this team. Clinton-Dix was another of the Tide defenders who did little to slow down the Sooners, and Pryor was outplayed by teammate Hakeem Smith against Miami. Smith played 25 yards off the line and took away Stephen Morris' deep game, one time ranging to the sideline for an aggressive interception.
Let's start with Bailey, who dominated Fresno State and QB Derek Carr as an in-the-box safety. Bailey was the man for USC, but his deep coverage skills are in question in spite of five interceptions this season because the 6-foot, 210-pounder has been employed as a glorified linebacker. His coverage skills will be scrutinized at the combine because he's such a tough playmaker.
The free safety here is Florida State's Terrence Brooks. Pittsburgh fans may remember Brooks for his two (should've-been-four) interceptions in the season opener. But in looking closely at all of the small-but-quick FSU defenders in the BCS title game, Brooks played as well as any and could provide value in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
STEELERS' STYLE ALL-BOWL TEAM DEFENSE
DE -- Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
NT -- Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State
DE -- Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
OLB -- Dee Ford, Auburn
ILB -- Kyle Van Noy, BYU
ILB -- Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA
OLB -- Carl Bradford, Arizona State
CB -- E.J. Gaines, Missouri
CB -- Ross Cockrell, Duke
SS -- Dion Bailey, USC
FS -- Terrence Brooks, Florida State