A steal for Pittsburgh?

The NFL Draft is a funny process, and one of the most unpredictable sporting events around. Omar Jacobs is not bothered by the fact he was not taken as early as he had hoped.

“I found it a little surprising that some of those guys went before me, but that’s all part of the process,” Jacobs said in a telephone interview from his hometown of Delray Beach, Fla. “You never know what’s going to happen in the draft.”

As the fifth round drew to a close, Jacobs waited patiently. The Pittsburgh Steelers, crowned Super Bowl champions in January, decided to call his name with the 164th pick overall. He was the ninth quarterback selected in the draft and the second in the fifth round.

It was not shocking that Jacobs was not a high pick. One thing that was surprising, though, was Furman’s Ingle Martin being taken ahead of Jacobs by the Green Bay Packers with the 148th pick.

“Omar Jacobs is a really, really talented young man,” Steelers quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple said. Of all the quarterbacks left, I thought he was the one guy that had a chance to really be a good player for us,” Whipple said. “We’re excited about him. Talking to him on the phone, he’s ecstatic. I think it’s a real good fit for us.”

Jacobs will join a platoon of quarterbacks in Pittsburgh who are MAC alumni.

“They have three MAC quarterbacks there now,” Jacobs said. “MAC quarterbacks fit well there with Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch and now me.”

Batch, entering his ninth season, played at Eastern Michigan, and Roethlisberger was a 2004 pick out of Miami (Ohio).

The Steelers likely drafted Jacobs as the best available player since Roethlisberger is the team’s future at the position.

“I’m a competitor, and I’m going to compete for the job,” Jacobs said. “Ben [Roethlisberger] is a great quarterback. If I have to sit for a while I will, and if my time comes it will come.”

Omar is the latest of many MAC quarterbacks taken in the draft. The skill level of the conference is much less of a question than it used to be.

“Just look at the success that they’ve had. [Chad] Pennington was in the playoffs. Look at Ben’s success and Byron [Leftwich] has done well in Jacksonville. Charlie [Frye] started up in Cleveland and had some success. In my [meeting] room, it’s not a problem,” Whipple said.

Some people criticized Jacobs’ decision to leave school early, saying he could have improved his value by staying another year.

“He’s a Pittsburgh Steeler now. I wouldn’t say he’s made a mistake,” Whipple said. “That’s water over the dam. That’s the past. I don’t ever worry about that.”

None of Jacobs’ teammates at BGSU were taken in the draft. The next few weeks will likely see some of them signed as undrafted free agents around the league. Jacobs supports them in continuing their football careers.

“They should, I hope they do; they helped me to get where I’m at,” Jacobs said.