Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has his ‘mock draft’ set heading into Thursday’s proceedings | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has his ‘mock draft’ set heading into Thursday’s proceedings

Joe Rutter
1068402_web1_809731-8b00501e9faf43999b6f40d23d0adfdc
AP
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert speaks during a new conference at the NFL Combine on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Indianapolis.

Armed with the No. 20 overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers went into the NFL Draft on Thursday night confident they could find a player who will help them get back to the playoffs and chase a seventh Lombardi Trophy this season.

Although general manager Kevin Colbert was prepared to trade up or down to get the player he wanted, he entered the process knowing exactly which players he would target in the first round.

The legwork that began during the college football season and continued through the all-star games, NFL Combine, pro days and predraft visits was finalized Wednesday. That’s when scouts and members of the team’s personnel department gathered at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex to piece together the team’s version of a mock draft.

“It’s a very simple process,” Colbert said Monday afternoon. “We’re going to have 20 guys, and we know exactly how we will pick them. We’ll determine that Wednesday, and we’ll have that final approach. It’s one through 20. We’re not going to vary from it.”

Colbert said the Steelers, about 10 years ago, discontinued the traditional mock draft that predicts which team has a need for which player. The Steelers approach their draft preparation like they are the team on the board for each pick in the first round.

“There’s really no guessing to it after Wednesday,” Colbert said. “We’ll know what 20 guys we’re picking in the specific order on Wednesday afternoon. When we get to Thursday night, that doesn’t change. The only change is (if we) trade up or trade down.”

Although the Steelers haven’t traded down in the first round since dropping three spots to No. 19 to select Casey Hampton in 2001, Colbert prepares for that unlikely scenario each season.

“We’ll get past 20,” Colbert said, “because if we trade down, then we know (that if) we can go to 28, we’ve already done it (in our mock).”

A more likely scenario is the Steelers trading up, something they have done twice in the first round since Colbert conducted his first draft in 2000. Their targets are believed to be one of the top two inside linebackers in the class: LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush.

The last time the Steelers traded up in the first round was 2006 when they moved up from No. 32 to No. 25 to get wide receiver Santonio Holmes. It cost them third- and fourth-round draft picks. The other time was in 2003 when the Steelers jumped from No. 27 to No. 16 to grab safety Troy Polamalu. That cost them a third- and sixth-round selection.

The last time the Steelers used the No. 20 overall pick in the draft was 1985 when they selected Wisconsin defensive lend Darryl Sims. He spent two seasons with the Steelers and had three sacks while never starting a game. After two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Sims was out of football, playing his last game in 1988.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.