On Monday, three days before the 2021 NFL Draft, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert carefully laid out the circumstances in which he might consider trading down from the No. 24 overall pick in the first round.
For each spot he’d consider dropping down, there would need to be at least that many players on the board that Colbert felt comfortable drafting, so that the team would be guaranteed at least one such player to choose from after trading.
He’d also prefer to trade with a team that was not a divisional opponent, something that was complicated by Cleveland and Baltimore owning three of the next six picks.
Colbert also said that he thought it was “very unlikely” that his team would trade up, saying that he liked having eight picks in this draft.
But he didn’t line out exactly what it would take for him to stay at No. 24.
After doing just that and drafting Alabama running back Najee Harris on Thursday night, Colbert revealed the answer to that: simply having Harris on the board.
“This year, we identified eight players that if they were available to us we would take them and not consider a trade, and Najee was one of those players,” Colbert said. “(We’re) ecstatic that he was there for us at 24.”
The first round saw several trades, with the Philadelphia Eagles moving up two spots to draft Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith, while the Dallas Cowboys were still able to get Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.
The Chicago Bears jumped from No. 20 to No. 11 to grab Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, while the New York Giants took Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney after moving down.
The New York Jets also moved up the board, going from No. 23 to No. 14 to select USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, while Minnesota landed a gem in falling Virginia State tackle Christian Darrisaw.