Monday, June 1, 2015

4 comments Mark Madden Did Not Like the Steelers' Selection of Ike Taylor

I don't where I found this article. Perhaps someone posted it on Twitter and I found it. I can't remember. It's an old article. Either way, Mark Madden had the hottest of sports takes on the Steelers drafting Ike Taylor back in 2003, calling the selection "the worst draft pick ever." He thought Taylor was no Alonzo Jackson, that's for sure. Either way, I don't think Ike Taylor is the greatest cornerback in the history of the NFL, but he's been in the league since 2003 and has two Super Bowl rings to his credit. He's been pretty okay.

But man, Mark Madden went ALL IN over the draft pick of Taylor. Taylor was a fourth round pick by the way. Who goes all in on a fourth round draft choice like this? Mark Madden, that's who. I thought it was appropriate to cover this since Ike Taylor recently retired.

The Steelers made history Sunday. They made their worst draft pick ever.

Linus Sweed? Jamain Stephens? Troy Edwards?

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I like a good bad draft choice. I derived as much enjoyment from the reigns of error provided by Troy Edwards, Jamain Stephens and Deon Figures as I did from the Super Bowl years.

Mark Madden is a talk radio host and this is definitely sports talk radio logic. If it's exciting to talk about and leads to ratings then who cares if the discussion has any merit?

Being indescribably bad is often more intriguing than being incomparably good.

More sports talk radio logic.

Which brings us to Ike Taylor, the Steelers' fourth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Louisiana-Lafayette is technically Division I-A, but the football program's primary purpose seems to be to pick up big paydays by acting as a record-building punching bag for larger schools like, well, everybody else.

And because Louisiana-Lafayette isn't very good at football then there is no way a football player from this school could ever succeed in the NFL. This seems to be Mark's basic, terrible, no-good point. More importantly, let's use some hindsight to point out how all kinds of wrong Madden was. He wrote this article in 2003 and over the last few years Louisiana-Lafayette has become a pretty good team. Four bowl wins in a row after struggling with the move up to the Sun Belt conference from being independent. So yes, at the time they weren't very good, but they are now.

My attempt to check if Taylor sprained the knee of Middle Tennessee receiver Tyrone Calico by using (whoooo!) the figure-four leglock proved inconclusive. Check the video? Yeah, like that game was on TV anywhere.

This is as opposed to Mark Madden' alma mater, Duquesne University, which has the 3:30pm game every Saturday on ABC. Duquesne can't be any good because they aren't on television a lot, right?

Back to Louisiana-Lafayette for a second. Here are some NFL guys who don't suck and played football at UL-L.

You see Jake Delhomme, Brian Mitchell, Brandon Stokley, Orlando Thomas, and Charles Tillman on that list. Of course, Ike Taylor is included as well. Bill Bentley, Ladarius Green, and Melvin White also played at UL-L and are currently in the NFL. In fact, Louisiana-Lafayette seems to be a school that mostly produces cornerbacks into the NFL. My point is that Mark Madden wrote this column knowing Brian Mitchell and Brandon Stokley went to UL-L and he still acts like the school hasn't produced an NFL player.

Taylor's draft profile on says he did not play in 2000 because he "concentrated on academics." Before that, he was a Prop 48. Before that, he was dumb. Probably still is.

He played long enough in the NFL to grasp the defensive concepts that Dick LeBeau is running, so obviously he isn't terribly stupid. Also, fuck you for saying because Ike Taylor was Prop 48 that he is dumb.

Probably not dumb enough to pick himself in the fourth round, though. This pick makes no sense. On a scale of one to 10, Ourlads Scouting Service gave Taylor a one.

And since when have draft services ever been wrong? And both Outlads and Mark Madden were wrong in this case.

But Taylor is a Steeler. I guarantee he will make the team. Taylor could lose a leg at rookie camp, have a lobotomy at minicamp and develop a heroin habit at training camp, and he would make the Steelers.

I like how Mark Madden is already setting up the excuses for why he was wrong about Taylor if he got called out for being wrong. Because NFL teams are always making excuses to keep a fourth round pick on the roster if that guy isn't worthy of making the team. A fourth round pick is considered a sacred cow who is given multiple chances to prove he's terrible.

When a team makes a bad draft choice, cutting him right away fairly screams the club's stupidity in all-too-short order.

So Madden already has it all set up to where he can say, "Of course I'm not wrong, because the Steelers would never cut a fourth round pick immediately." So Madden tried to hide behind the false assumption that no NFL team would cut a fourth round pick who didn't play well without giving him multiple chances to fail.

Hopefully Madden calling Taylor dumb and the worst pick the Steelers ever made would just be forgotten when they do cut Ike Taylor...which never did happen.

At 6-foot, 197 pounds with 4.33 speed in the 40-yard dash, Taylor could turn out to be the latter-day Mel Blount. Or the black Scott Shields. I'm betting on the latter.

Mark Madden bet wrong. Maybe he should have been Prop 48.

Said Steelers defensive backs coach Willy Robinson -- yes, someone actually admits to having that job -- "The one thing you can't do is teach a guy to be 6 feet, almost 6-1, 197 pounds and run a 4.3 like he can." How come no one ever drafted Jesse Owens?

That's a great point. I can see how Madden made his name in professional wrestling and talk radio. He has the whole "Lack of sense and logic" thing down pat.

With all those marvelous physical attributes, how did Taylor wind up at Louisiana-Lafayette? Why wasn't he at Southern California with Troy Polamalu?

Maybe he wanted to go to Louisiana-Lafayette. Perhaps it's really because Taylor didn't get a scholarship to play football initially and had to walk-on to the Ragin' Cajuns' football team, so there's no way he would have played for Southern California. You know, because it is impossible for a college athlete to improve athletically in his sport of choice during his time in college. A five-star football player will always be great, just like a two or three-star football player will never make it to the NFL. Ever. Doesn't happen. Lightly recruited players simply can't improve. It's science.

Wouldn't a big-time school take a Prop 48 recruit that projected as a fourth-round NFL draft pick? Absolutely. But while you can't teach anyone to be 6 feet, 197 pounds and run a 4.3, you probably can't teach Taylor to play football.

And yet, the Steelers did. Imagine that. It's just like you teach someone to be as wrong as Mark Madden ended up being about Ike Taylor. It just comes natural to Madden, so it can't be taught. The logic behind the thought that Ike Taylor wasn't a big recruit so he obviously can't be taught to play football, despite the fact Madden knows Taylor started as a running back and only played cornerback for one year at UL-L is hilarious to me. You can't teach Taylor to play football, despite the fact he learned a new position well enough in less than a year that he was drafted.  

Taylor played four different positions in high school, two in college. You say that's because he's versatile. I say it's because he couldn't figure out any one position.

I'm not sure what the reason for this hit piece was, but Mark Madden was brutal for seemingly no apparent reason. It's fun to know that a decade later, Taylor turned out to be a solid cornerback in the NFL. I guess he finally figured out how to play cornerback. It's probably because the Steelers were afraid to cut him, being a fourth round pick and all.

Taylor will be a total bust for the Steelers.

He wasn't. In fact, the only total bust is this column where Madden inexplicably put the screws to Ike Taylor.

In fact, Mark Madden has gone at Ike Taylor throughout his career. I wonder if Mark Madden is just upset that he looks like he gets flop sweat merely by moving too quickly sitting in a chair.

Madden's musical diss of Taylor.

A verbal diss of Taylor from 2012.

A written diss of Taylor from 2014.

What did Ike Taylor do to Mark Madden? Is it just that he knows he was wrong about Taylor and he just keeps piling on in order to come off as a heel?

The only person he hurts will be me after he reads this column.


The choice of rag-armed Boston College quarterback Brian St. Pierre in the fifth round stinks, too.

St. Pierre stuck around the NFL until 2010, so it seems Mark Madden's ability to decide who is a bust draft pick and who isn't stays consistently bad.

Other than that, I liked the Steelers draft. Seriously.

Great, I'm glad you are being serious now. Seriously, you like two of the picks the Steelers made and one of them was a complete bust. You can't evaluate players as well as you think you can. Seriously.

As bad as the choices of Taylor, St. Pierre and what's-his-name are, the selections of Polamalu and Alonzo Jackson fit like hand in glove.

Thanks Morrissey. Speaking of fitting hand in glove, Alonzo Jackson was a second round pick who appeared in 18 total games in his career and managed a shockingly terrible 0 sacks over his career. He's another in a long line of Florida State defensive ends who have failed in the NFL, except Jackson was horrible to the point he couldn't even manage to start but one game his entire career.

Interestingly, while Mark Madden says the Steelers would never admit they made a mistake and cut Ike Taylor, a fourth round pick, they managed to realize they made a mistake with second round pick Alonzo Jackson after two years and released him. Also interestingly, while Mark Madden was criticizing Ike Taylor for moving from running back to cornerback by stating he "couldn't figure out any one position," Jackson was to be converted to a linebacker in the NFL and he failed miserably at figuring out that position. So it's sort of interesting that the criticism Madden directed towards Ike Taylor actually fit the Steelers' second round pick that year who Madden claimed "fit like hand in glove."

I think it's fair to say, the sun shines out of Jackson's behind, and we'll probably never him again. I wish I could say the same for Mark Madden.

Did the Steelers give too much to trade up to No. 16? Probably. Could they have moved up a little less high, given a bit less, and still gotten Polamalu? Probably.

Is Madden totally guessing as to whether the Steelers could have moved up a little less high and gotten Polamalu? Probably. Is a surprise to me that a guy who uses sports talk radio logic would do a hit piece and then just start guessing at conclusions he wants to reach? Probably not.

Jackson was a slight reach in the second round. But he's a true pass-rushing specialist.

Again, zero sacks for his career. I don't think that's very good for a true pass-rushing specialist.

The Steelers' defense hasn't been the same since Kevin Greene left town. Greene was far from a complete player. But he gave the Steelers an extra dimension that struck fear in foes and gave the opposing quarterback less time to make decisions.

Jackson played defensive end at Florida State. The Steelers will make him into an outside linebacker. I just hope they don't try to make him into a complete player.

Because who would draft a defensive player in the second round and expect him to at some point become a complete player? Not the Steelers, that's who. It's unreasonable to expect their second round pick to eventually become a complete player, but their fourth round pick has some high expectations to meet.

Don't teach Jackson how to drop back into coverage. Just let him be Kevin Greene.

Just don't teach him to drop back in coverage. Sure, he could possibly do this, but just don't teach it. Makes sense.

I'm chock-full of enthusiasm about the ridiculous choice of Taylor.

He ended up being the second-best player from this draft.

Just as this generation of Steelers fans (cough) deserves its own Super Bowl team, it also deserves to experience a replay of the shame of 1989, when the Steelers' 1-2 first-round punch of Tim Worley and Tom Ricketts ultimately made grown men weep. And drink.

Ike Taylor started 15 games for the 2005 Super Bowl champion Steelers, as well as had an interception in the Super Bowl that year. He started 16 games for the 2008 Super Bowl champion Steelers as well. So this generation of Steelers fans got two Super Bowls with Ike Taylor starting for Pittsburgh.

Of course, I'm hardly infallible when it comes to judging this sort of thing.

Well, you do seem inordinately focused on the wrong things when it comes to player evaluation. I chalk it up to simply wanting attention and not really understanding that hot takes based on a draftee's college career doesn't equal an evaluation of that player's ability to make it in the NFL.

I liked the choice of Edwards in 1999. Hey, gotta get a receiver, right? Wrong. I also spoke glowingly of Shields' physical skills when the safety from Weber State was chosen in the second round that same year. Conversely, I decried the choice of Antwaan Randle-El in the second round last season.

It's okay to be wrong. It's not okay to just do a hit piece on a player who was drafted simply because you haven't heard of the college he played at and think he is plain dumb overall.

But I stand by my condemnation of Ike Taylor.

You did and you still do stand by your condemnation of Ike Taylor. Standing by your point of view doesn't mean you are correct. It could very well mean you are too stubborn or desperate for attention to admit you are wrong.

Ike Turner would have been a better choice. Talk about a big hitter.

Jokes about spousal abuse are hilarious first off. Second, you stated the Steelers made their worst pick ever by taking Ike Taylor and you were terribly wrong. He's not a Pro Bowl cornerback, but he's also not the Steelers' worst draft pick ever. You were wrong in 2003, and despite your efforts to keep moving the goalposts and expect more out of Taylor, you are still wrong about Taylor now. But hey, I'm sure it got you some attention. That's all that matters.


JBsptfn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBsptfn said...

Right after that draft, Walter Football said that Brian St. Pierre was going to be Pittsburgh's QB of the future:

Walter Football: 2003 AFC Draft Grades

They also said that Jackson would be a bust, and that there were better players available (Robert Mathis, anyone? You think that he could have been awesome across from Joey Porter?).

I am familiar with Mark Madden (I don't live too far from Pittsburgh). He can be a blowhard, but he sometimes makes some good statements (he had an interesting statement about what was going on at Penn State after the Sandusky stuff came out).

Snarf said...

A fourth rounder is tough to call a bust. Sometimes they are flawed players with upside. If they were close to being considered sure things, then they'd be top 5 picks.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, man that's tough. Brian St. Pierre as the QB of the future. Maybe it's a Boston College thing. Well, Mark Madden did not like the Ike Taylor selection and he went pretty hard considering Taylor isn't a high draft pick. I have a feeling he can be right, but also very, very wrong in loud fashion. Perhaps I'm wrong.

Snarf, what I thought was funny is that, yeah, Taylor was a 4th round pick. I'm not sure they can even be busts. These two hated each other it seems.