PITTSBURGH — It does not seem likely that the Steelers will attempt to trade up from their No. 24 overall selection in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday, with general manager Kevin Colbert calling it “very doubtful” in the opening statement of his remarks to the Pittsburgh media on Monday to preview the draft.
“I’m very doubtful that we’ll trade up,” Colbert said. “We really value those eight picks that we have, five of which are in the top 140.”
On the other had, when asked about the possibility of trading down, Colbert was more elaborative, talking about the specifics of the process that might lead him to moving down from the No. 24 overall pick.
“We’re always going to value quality over quantity, but if we’re not comfortable with what we’re looking at at the 24th pick, we’ll trade back,” Colbert said. “We’ve got to look at what we’re walking away from. I never like to walk away from a pick without having — say if we’re trading back five spots, I want five players that we would be comfortable in taking so we can’t lose. That’s the way we’ve always approached that.”
One of the pitfalls in that type of scenario is the teams that are in that range behind the Steelers that may be looking to move up. In the first seven picks behind the Steelers, three are divisional rivals, as the Cleveland Browns have pick No. 26 and the Baltimore Ravens hold No. 27 and 31.
“Do we want to do it with a division team? That wouldn’t be our preference,” Colbert said. “But we won’t discount that completely because we have to weigh what the potential trade-back will do for us and not worry about where those picks may go. It wouldn’t be our preference, but it won’t disqualify us from trading back with a division team.”
The Steelers haven’t traded down in the first round in a long time, since Colbert moved from No. 16 to No. 19 in the first round in 2001 to take nose tackle Casey Hampton. They’ve traded up more frequently, moving up to get Devin Bush in 2019, Santonio Holmes in 2006 and Troy Polamalu in 2003.