Shop Fantasy Central Golf Guide Email Travel Subscribe SI About Us

 
  CNNSI.com Home
Draft Center Home
Other NFL News
Other College News
DRAFT BOARD
Rnd: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Player
Position
Teams
Schools
Conference

EVENTS
 Sportsman of the Year
 Heisman Trophy
 Swimsuit 2001

CENTERS
 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Multimedia Central
 Statitudes
 Your Turn
 Message Boards
 Email Newsletters
 Golf Guide
 Cities
 Work in Sports

CNNSI.com GROUP
 Sports Illustrated
 Life of Reilly
 Television
 SI Women
 SI for Kids
 Press Room
 TBS/TNT Sports
 CNN Languages

COMMERCE
 SI Customer Service
 SI Media Kits
 Get into College
 Sports Memorabilia
 TeamStore

Steelers get their QB

After passing on Pennington, Cowher takes Martin late

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Sunday April 16, 2000 09:11 PM

  Tee Martin One scouting service described Tee Martin as the most physically-gifted quarterback in the draft. Donald Miralle/Allsport

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't live up to pre-draft predictions by choosing a quarterback to replace Kordell Stewart. Instead, they drafted one who very much resembles him.

Tee Martin, who replaced Peyton Manning as Tennessee's quarterback and led the Vols to the 1998 national championship before having an erratic senior season, went to the Steelers on the fifth round Sunday.

The somewhat unexpected pick livened up what otherwise was a routine day of Steelers drafting that, just like the day before, began with a wide receiver -- this time, UCLA's Danny Farmer in the fourth round.

On Saturday, the Steelers passed up Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington to take Michigan State's Plaxico Burress with the No. 8 pick. After weighing their immediate needs -- a quarterback who might need a year or two against a receiver who might contribute immediately -- they went with Burress.

After spending weeks choosing between the two, they still tried to get Pennington, offering the New York Jets picks in the second, third and fourth round for the 18th pick the Jets used on Pennington. The Jets turned them down.

So, after failing to land Pennington, the Steelers took Martin as a consolation prize, even though many of his strengths and deficiencies match Stewart's.

Like Stewart, the 6-foot-1 1/2, 227-pound Martin can run and throw; he passed for 2,317 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season and carried 81 times for 317 yards and nine touchdowns.

However, the player described by one scouting service as the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft also has the rap of not adjusting quickly to defenses, not throwing sideline routes well and not seeing the entire field.

He also has trouble looking off receivers, and his accuracy is suspect, although he set the NCAA record for consecutive completions.

Sound familiar?

"There are a lot of similarities, no question," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said.

Martin thinks they are good comparisons.

"I am happy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Kordell," Martin said. "It is a great comparison. We both have the athletic ability to run. We both can throw the ball. I know Kordell is his own man. I just want to be myself and come in and fit in where I can."

Gilbride wouldn't speculate whether Martin's supposed lack of arm strength caused him to slip to the fifth round in what was considered a weak draft for quarterbacks.

"I don't know. You would have to climb into other people's minds," Gilbride said. "There's been speculation about accuracy; this year he wasn't quite as productive as last year."

The Steelers will begin training camp with four quarterbacks: Stewart, newly signed Kent Graham, Martin and Anthony Wright, a second-year pro from South Carolina who didn't see game action last season. "It will be a challenge to give everybody enough work," Gilbride said.

As expected, the Steelers targeted receivers, adding Burress and the productive but not-as-fast Farmer. At 6-foot-3, Farmer has the kind of size and productivity the Steelers were seeking.

Farmer had 58 catches and nine touchdowns as a junior, but slipped to 29 catches and three TDs last season while being bothered by groin and ankle injuries.

On Sunday, the Steelers also drafted linebacker Clark Haggans, who played defensive end at Colorado State; Duke defensive lineman Chris Combs, the son of former pro basketball player Glen Combs; and Kent State tight end Jason Gavadza.

"You look at Farmer, Haggans and Tee Martin -- we felt they did too many good things for us to pass up," coach Bill Cowher said. "I think we created some competition."

The draft was the first since Kevin Colbert replaced Tom Donahoe as the director of football operations. His philosophy was simple: address needs, but don't grab a player just because he fills a need.

"I don't think we reached for any player," Colbert said.


 
Related information
Stories
Steelers thrilled to nab 'playmaker' Burress at No. 8
CNNSI.com Draft Day Diary: Steelers' Danny Farmer
Multimedia
Visit Multimedia Central for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day

Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


CNNSI Copyright © 2000
CNN/Sports Illustrated
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.