As they have for much their storied history, the Steelers have enjoyed tremendous success under the general managership of Kevin Colbert. Since joining the team in 2000 as the Director of Football Operations, the Steelers have won two Super Bowls (XL and XLIII) and been to a third. The first General Manager in team history (since 2010), Colbert has been instrumental in the scouting and drafting of players for the organization.
This year, the Steelers don’t have a first, third or fifth round pick after trading their first for Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick last year and their third round pick to the Broncos in the deal to move up in the 2019 draft to select Devin Bush. One of their fifth round picks was included in the Fitzpatrick trade and the other, which they had acquired from Jacksonville was sent to Seattle in the Nick Vannett acquisition. The Steelers also received a fourth round pick from Miami in the Fitzpatrick swap.
So, what’s left for draft day? In total, the team possesses five picks in the 2020 Draft, plus a possible sixth should they be given a compensatory pick (which has yet to be decided and or announced): a second, a third-round compensatory (TBD), two fourths, a sixth and a seventh.
The lack of a first round pick will make Colbert’s job decidedly harder as he looks to restock the team with young talent. It’s worth noting that Colbert doesn’t have de facto say over who to pick. The Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is also heavily involved in the process, but Colbert’s track record in the first round is exemplary. And he’s had plenty of success in the second and third rounds and found some real steals in the later rounds as well.
We’ll let the results speak for themselves.
The draft before Colbert officially became GM. Probably at least one (if not two) future HOF’ers in Maurkice Pouncey and Antonio Brown. Emmanuel Sanders has had a great NFL career after leaving the Steelers. Worilds was a solid contributor before retiring after his fifth season.
1st Round: Maurkice Pouncey, C
2nd Round: Jason Worilds, OLB
3rd Round: Emmanuel Sanders, WR
4th Round: Thaddeus Gibson, OLB
5th Round: Chris Scott, G
5th Round: Crezdon Butler, DB
5th Round: Stevenson Sylvester, OLB
6th Round: Jonathan Dwyer, RB
6th Round: Antonio Brown, WR
7th Round: Dough Worthington, DT
Heyward could be another future HOF, especially if people listen to Pro Football Focus. Gilbert was a solid tackle. The rest of the class, not so much.
1st Round: Cameron Heyward, DT
2nd Round: Marcus Gilbert, OT
3rd Round: Curtis Brown, DB
4th Round: Cortez Allen, DB
5th Round: Chris Carter, LB
6th Round: Keith Williams, OL
7th Round: Baron Batch, RB
Is there an echo in here? 1st round pick David DeCastro may end up in Canton someday. 7th round steal Kelvin Beachum, now on the Jets, was a versatile lineman for many years. More misses than hits in the middle rounds, however.
1st Round: David DeCastro, G
2nd Round: Mike Adams, OT
3rd Round: Sean Spence, ILB
4th Round: Alameda Ta’amu, NT
5th Round: Chris Rainey, RB
7th Round: Toney Clemons, WR
7th Round: David Paulson, TE
7th Round: Terrence Frederick, DB
7th Round: Kelvin Beachum, OL
A rare misfire on Jones was partially offset by 2nd round pick Le’Veon Bell, who was one of the most productive running backs in the league while with the Steelers. Vince Williams is also still with the team while 7th round pick Nick Williams has carved out a role on the Chicago Bears after some time floating around the league.
1st Round: Jarvis Jones, OLB
2nd Round: Le’Veon Bell, RB
3rd Round: Markus Wheaton, WR
4th Round: Shamarko Thomas, DB
4th Round: Landry Jones, QB
5th Round: Terry Hawthorne, CB
6th Round: Justin Brown, WR
6th Round: Vince Williams, LB
7th Round: Nick Williams, DT
A starcrossed class for sure. Ryan Shazier was on his way to be one of the best linebackers in the game and Martavis Bryant had flashes of utter domination before working his way out the league due to substance abuse.
1st Round: Ryan Shazier, LB
2nd Round: Stephon Tuitt, DE
3rd Round: Dri Archer, WR/RB
4th Round: Martavis Bryant, WR
5th Round: Shaquille Richardson
5th Round: Wesley Johnson
6th Round: Jordan Zumwalt
6th Round: Daniel McCullers
7th Round: Rob Blanchflower
Prior to this season, you might have called the 2015 a bust, but with the resurgence of Bud Dupree opposite TJ Watt, this class isn’t looking too bad. Jesse James was a solid contributor for the team for four season before signing with Detroit in 2019. Anthony Chickillo is a solid backup. Notably, Colbert and the Steelers whiffed on both cornerbacks, 2nd round pick Senquez Golson and 4th rounder Doran Grant.
1st Round: Bud Dupree, LB
2nd Round: Senquez Golson, CB
3rd Round: Sammie Coates, WR
4th Round: Doran Grant, CB
5th Round: Jesse James, TE
6th Round: Leterrius Walton, DT
6th Round: Anthony Chickillo, LB
7th Round: Gerod Holliman, S
Another rare first round misfire in Artie Burns. The jury is still out on 2nd round pick Sean Davis as well. Javon Hargrave is about to make big bucks. and Tyler Matakevich has turned himself into a good backup and special teams ace.
1st Round: Artie Burns, CB
2nd Round: Sean Davis, CD
3rd Round: Javon Hargrove, DT
4th Round: Jerald Hawkins, T
6th Round: Travis Feeney, LB
7th Round: Demarcus Ayers, WR
7th Round: Tyler Matakevich, LB
It doesn’t get much better than T.J. Watt, especially at 30th overall. JuJu Smith-Schuster put up some of the best numbers in the history of the NFL for his age before a scattershot 2019 without Roethlisberger. James Conner looked like a star-in-waiting as well but injuries have cast doubt on whether or not he can ever be a number one back in the NFL. Cameron Sutton played in 25% of the team’s snaps in 2019 and appeared in every game.
1st Round: T.J. Watt, LB
2nd Round: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
3rd Round: Cameron Sutton, CB
3th Round: James Conner, RB
4th Round: Joshua Dobbs, QB
5th Round: Brian Allen, DB
6th Round: Colin Holba, LS
7th Round: Keion Adams, LB
Solidly in the to be determined file. Terrell Edmunds and James Washington have shown flashes, Mason Rudolph was up and down as the starter, but could still turn into something. Okorafor could be in line for lots of playing time in 2020 and Jaylen Samuels has shown flashes at running back and will be in the backfield mix heading into next year.
1st Round: Terrell Edmunds, S
2nd Round: James Washington, WR
3rd Round: Mason Rudolph, QB
3th Round: Chukwuma Okorafor, T
5th Round: Marcus Allen, S
5th Round: Jaylen Samuels, TE/RB
7th Round: Joshua Frazier, DT
Colbert and the Steelers liked Bush enough to trade up for him, the first time the team had moved up in the 1st round since drafting Troy Polamalu in 2003. Diontae Johnson looks like he could be the real deal after coming on strong late in 2019. Justin LAyne and Zach Gentry are works in process while Benny Snell did enough to establish himself as a viable option at running back.
1st Round: Devin Bush, LB
2nd Round: Diontae Johnson, WR
3rd Round: Justin Layne, CB
4th Round: Benny Snell, RB
5th Round: Zach Gentry, TE
6th Round: Sutton Smith, DE
6th Round: Isaiah Buggs, DT
6th Round: Ulysees Gilbert, LB
7th Round: Derwin Gray, T
NFL Releases Pro Day Schedules
The 2021 NFL Combine should be kicking off this week in Indianapolis, but like so many other things in the past year, it has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NFL has decided not to risk bringing together prospects, scouts and media from around the country and will instead be relying on the schools’ individual pro days to evaluate prospects.
With that in mind, the league has taken a greater measure of control over the process, and on Wednesday, released a preliminary schedule for each team’s pro day.
March 5: Kansas
March 9: Kansas State, Northwestern, Wisconsin-Whitewater
March 10: Arkansas, Marshall, Maryland, Wisconsin
March 11: Clemson, Nevada, Texas
March 12: Arkansas State, North Dakota State, Oklahoma
March 15: Army, Kent State, Middle Tennessee St., Vanderbilt
March 16: Georgia Tech, Temple
March 17: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Pitt, San Jose St.
March 18: Auburn, Buffalo, Central Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe,
Stanford, Troy, West Virginia
March 19: Memphis, Ohio, TCU
March 22: Air Force, Bowling Green, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida State, Iowa, Missouri, Toledo
March 23: Alabama, Central Michigan, Iowa State, Nebraska, Purdue
March 24: Michigan State, Mississippi State, South Carolina, USC, Virginia
March 25: Georgia Southern, UMass, Ole Miss, North Texas, Penn State, San Diego St., SMU, Tennessee, Western Michigan
March 26: Boston College, BYU, Michigan, South Dakota State, Virginia Tech
March 29: Arizona State, Duke, Louisiana-Lafayette, Miami (Fla.), Miami (Ohio), North Carolina
March 30: Alabama, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Louisville, NC State, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tulane, Washington
March 31: Boise State, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Notre Dame, Wake Forest
April 1: UCF, Minnesota, Charlotte, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, USF, Western Kentucky
April 2: Oregon, Tulsa
April 7: Texas Tech
April 9: UAB, Ball State, Houston
Should Steelers Use First Round Pick on a Center?
NFL Releases Further Details of Altered Draft Process
After cancelling the in-person NFL Scouting Combine last week due to COVID-19 concerns, the league released further details of the significantly altered draft process in a memo to clubs Friday.
Teams are prohibited from timing, testing, interviewing or examining draft prospects at any location other than all-star games or the respective player’s pro day.
Clubs are also banned from hosting draft prospects for facilities visits, dinners, film sessions and private workouts. Violations of these rules would be subject to punishment in line with the NFL’s anti-tampering policy.
Further muddying the process, clubs will only be allowed to have a maximum of three individuals attend pro days. However, all times and measurements are said to be made available league-wide.
Lastly, the league also released further details and restrictions on the pre-draft interview process. While in-person interviews and visits will be prohibited, they can be conducted virtually or via telephone.
Clubs can schedule up to five video conferences or phone calls with a prospect, with each conversation limited to one hour. Virtual psychological tests will not count against the five interview limit.
Teams can begin conducting interviews with draft eligible underclassmen on Monday, Jan. 25.
Interviews with seniors can begin on Monday, Feb. 1.