Steelers hit jackpot with pick of Amos

    Long after even the most ardent fans finally had succumbed to the nearly 10 hours of waiting, dealing and shuffling of picks known as the NFL Draft,  the Pittsburgh Steelers were on the clock with the final selection of the first day.
Oh, what a selection they made. Drafting Mountaineer tailback Amos Zereoue with the 95th pick could pay off big for the Steelers.
    By the end of  the 1998 season, Pittsburgh was in dire need of an offensive transfusion. Kordell Stewart, the lightning-quick quarterback, was hesitant to run and woefully inaccurate with his passes. Jerome Bettis suffered behind a constantly shifting offensive line and the loss of fullback Tim Lester.  Bettis also fought off injuries most of the season. And then the receiving corps, already devoid of a deep threat, lost Charles Johnson to free agency.
    Zereoue will not be an every-down tailback in the NFL; his lack of size will see to that.  But what he does bring to Pittsburgh is the ability to make big plays. With Zereoue, the Steelers acquired a back with the knack of making things happen.
    Whether it’s using his speed to give the offense a different look, catching a screen pass to pick up a vital first down or even as a decoy to draw a linebacker out of position, Zereoue will help the Pittsburgh offense.
    Check out what Bill Parcells did in New York and New England with Dave Meggett. Parcells already had every-down backs (Ottis Anderson with the Giants, Curtis Martin with the Patriots), yet the player defenses often feared most in critical situations was Meggett. Meggett routinely made key plays to keep drives alive.
    Also, when Meggett came on the field, defenses immediately shifted to stop him. Subsequently, other players often found open running room. A running play that normally picked up four yards broke open for 10.
    A pass that normally was thrown into double-coverage was thrown to a receiver who had beaten a  cornerback.
Meggett helped lead the Giants and Patriots to Super Bowls.
    If Pittsburgh uses him correctly, Zereoue could do the same in the near future for the Steelers.

    Charles Fisher is a prime example of what patience and perseverance can accomplish. At the beginning of the 1998 season, Fisher was fighting for a spot in the starting lineup. He may not even have been thinking about the NFL Draft.
    But following a solid senior season and great workouts, he was taken by  Cincinnati with the 33rd pick.
Fisher was taken ahead of better-known WVUplayers Zereoue, John Thornton (Tennessee Titans, 52th pick), Solomon Page (Dallas Cowboys, 55th pick) and Gary Stills (Kansas City Chiefs, 57th pick). And because of that, you can be sure he also will be tops among his former teammates in another category: Highest salary.


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Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999