VEGAS VITRIOL: Omar Khan, Mike Tomlin turn in A+ draft class for the Steelers

The 2024 NFL Draft is now one for the history books and the Steelers GM Omar Khan and Head Coach Mike Tomlin have crushed the haters again, and many folks, as the late, legendary entertainer James Brown might say, “can’t stand it.”

All the NFL “mock drafts” have been placed upon an experimental spacecraft and jettisoned toward the destination of oblivion.  Please folks, please read this column very carefully. The primary reason that this column was titled: “Vegas Vitriol” was to warn the naysayers and doubters not to waste their time, energy and money betting against Khan or Tomlin based on the poisonous and subjective rhetoric that originated in the betting parlors of “Sin City,” even though many of those that created and profited from the betting lines oftentimes purposely and forecasted that Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin could not possibly repeat the success they achieved in the 2023 Draft. Why? The logic for the 2024 draft predictions of Khan was initially based on the nickname, “Khan artist” that the “yinzer” media created for Omar Khan.


Smoke and mirrors, and three card monte were not the reason for the success of the Steelers’ 2023 or the 2024 draft class. Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin did not waste spaghetti by throwing it on bathroom walls. Instead, they put spaghetti on our plates, accompanied by a fresh salad, a hot bowl of Italian wedding soup, and fresh-from-the-oven garlic bread. During the 2024 Draft, there were occasions when the Steelers did not prematurely fire or remove their guns from the holsters because patience was the ultimate weapon. Omar Khan elaborated saying: “Yeah, I mean, you have no choice but to be patient on draft weekend. But it all comes down to what players are there when you’re picking, and you try to make the right decisions, whether to move up, move down, or take a pick. As I’ve said before, for me, I know we made some moves last year, but when there’s a good player there, it’s hard to trade away from and we had the opportunity to trade away, to trade back this year, and with where we were, we just felt really good about the players we took and where we took them.”

Head Coach Mike Tomlin may have been a little excited by drafting players who may have an opportunity to begin their NFL career as starters. “We’re looking for guys with talent. Oftentimes that talent is coupled with experience. It’s good to have a group that is mature as players and as people, and I think that’s reflective of the collective that you’re talking about. All that means is we should expect those guys to have a high floor and maybe have a good presentation of what they’re capable of early on, and for that, we’re excited certainly.”

Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan did not arrive in their 2024 war room sporting sunglasses and carrying briefcases filled with various tools of trickery such as marked decks of cards, and other devices intended to trick competitors. Instead, those briefcases contained miniature sledgehammers coupled with carefully crafted battle plans that detailed attack and counterattack measures. If the remainder of the NFL franchises came into the 2024 Draft expecting trickery and slickness from “Khan artist” and the Steelers, they had to be sickened and saddened when they felt the unexpected blows of sledgehammers “oops, upside their heads.” The draft strategy of the Pittsburgh Steelers is not and never will be based on tricks or traps but on providing treats and possible future Lombardi Trophies for the Steeler Nation.

Former New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said the Steelers’ 1974 draft class was the “greatest of all time.”

In an article on, Belichick is quoted as saying: “People talk about the draft, and they talk about how great the ’83 draft was and all of that, but it’s really about team-building. It’s about how you build your team. 50 years ago, this was the greatest team-building draft of all time, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Swann, Stallworth, Lambert, Webster, and Donnie Shell, he was a free agent, in one draft. Five, five Hall of Famers in one draft. You talk about building a team. Now, what happened after that? Four Super Bowls.”

From 1971-1990, Dick Haley was the GM of the Steelers but the Steelers’ NFL super scout and eventual NFL Hall of Famer Bill Nunn Jr. was far more responsible than Haley for bringing the core of the Steelers star players to the team from 1971-1980. During that amazing era, the Steelers won four Super Bowl trophies. Dick Haley had a secret super weapon as a GM and that weapon was not the performances of the players on the field. The Steelers’ secret weapon of the 1970s was Bill Nunn Jr., no smoke and mirrors were needed. 

In 2024, these were the Steeler’s early to mid-round draft picks.  Round 1, Troy Fautanu, offensive tackle, Washington; Round 2, Zach Frazier, center; Round 3, Roman Wilson, wide receiver, Michigan;  Round 3, Payton Wilson, linebacker, N.C. State. Running back Daijun Edwards was signed as an undrafted free agent from the University of Georgia.

It has been 50 years since the historic draft class of 1974 produced five draft picks and a free agent in one draft class who were eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Will the Steelers’ draft class of 2024 be a repeat of the 1974 draft class? In the Steelers war room, no rabbits have been pulled from a top hat, and no cards disappeared up Mike Tomlin’s or Omar Khan’s sleeves. The success of the Pittsburgh Steelers stems from the blood, sweat, and tears of many scouts who became afflicted with bloodshot eyes from observing player after player and tired feet from pounding city streets and traveling down dimly lit and dusty country roads, seeking raw talent to develop into champions for the ages, without having to throw spaghetti against the wall.



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