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Tomlin: Melvin Ingram Situation Highlights Importance of Building Through the Draft

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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers had what could be called a relatively quiet trade deadline aside from their trade of Melvin Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs. Ingram, who had requested a trade after being unhappy with his playing time and role with the team, was acquired by Kansas City for a sixth-round pick, that is reportedly conditional. Still, the Steelers losing Ingram makes their depth a bit weak at outside linebacker.

However, another key point that the Ingram situation highlighted for Mike Tomlin was the overall need to build through the draft. While the proven talent is always there, Tomlin believes that working with someone from the time they come into the league as they continue to grow is an invaluable tool.

“I enjoyed working with Melvin,” Tomlin said. “It just didn’t work out the way we envisioned, the way he envisioned, and sometimes that happens in free agency. And that’s really, culturally, why we build our team primarily through the Draft. When you do business with guys from the time, they’re 20 and 21, you get an opportunity to be a part of their growth and development, they get an opportunity to buy in to your system of ball or their roles in it at a very young age, and it just makes the division of labor thing a more fluid thing. Free agency, it makes it more cumbersome at times to get to know on a lot of levels as you’re preparing to play games.”

Tomlin mentioned that moving forward, he believes the Steelers should be okay with using Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt at a high snap rate. Still, the Steelers, even with their willingness to move draft picks in recent years, are still a team primarily built through the draft and it seems it will be that way. From Tomlin’s mouth itself, the Steelers always value building through the draft with the ability to develop their talent.

Alan Saunders provided reporting from Pittsburgh.

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