On the eve of the 2021 NFL Draft, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and common supervisor Kevin Colbert carried out an in-person press convention for the primary time in over a 12 months. For 45 minutes, Tomlin and Colbert tackled a myriad of subjects targeted on their plans for the upcoming draft. The Steelers have eight picks within the draft, together with No. 24 general.
Colbert stated that the Steelers’ roster, as presently constructed, would be capable to compete in a recreation if the NFL season began in the present day. And whereas they’ve some areas to deal with through the draft, Colbert stated that the workforce’s present roster has allowed the Steelers to strategy the draft with a “utterly extensive open” philosophy. That mind-set might presumably result in choosing a operating again with the twenty fourth general choose, a situation Colbert and firm should not ruling out. Two operating backs who could also be out there with the twenty fourth choose embody former Clemson again Travis Etienne and former Alabama standout Najee Harris.
“I do not suppose you’ll be able to ever underestimate the worth of a high quality participant at any place, and operating again is not any totally different,” Colbert stated. “I perceive that the sport has modified, it is a extra horizontal recreation than it’s a vertical recreation. Individuals do not play conventional soccer … with two-back units and energy video games. It has modified. However when you have a dynamic participant at any place, that participant ought to make a distinction, and operating again is not any totally different.
“Should you take a look at the Corridor of Fame runners, most of these guys had been taken in excessive rounds. I do not ever place that worth, excessive or low, on a given place. I base it on who the participant is and what that participant can do to assist us.”
Colbert, who stated that the Steelers don’t plan on buying and selling up within the first spherical, stated that there’s uncommon depth on the heart place on this draft. That is definitely a great factor for the Steelers, who’re available in the market for a brand new heart following Maurkice Pouncey’s offseason retirement. Conversely, Colbert stated that the expertise pool at inside line of defense is skinny, which makes the current re-signing of Tyson Alualu that rather more vital. Colbert added that, as has been the case for the previous a number of drafts, there’s vital depth at cornerback, one other place the Steelers will look to replenish after dropping Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson this offseason.
So far as left sort out is worried, Tomlin stated that 2018 third-round choose Chukwuma Okorafor would exchange Alejandro Villanueva within the beginning lineup if the season began in the present day. So far as Bud Dupree’s alternative is worried, Tomlin is hoping to see vital development from Alex Highsmith. A 2020 third-round choose, Highsmith confirmed promise when he was tasked with changing Dupree 11 video games into his rookie season. The Steelers will doubtless add to each the inside and outside linebacker positions through the draft. Particularly, Tomlin and Colbert just like the depth at inside linebacker.
Regardless of having Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins and Joshua Dobbs presently beneath contract, the Steelers will not rule out drafting a quarterback. Colbert stated that the truth that three of his quarterbacks are coming into the ultimate 12 months of their contracts could be one cause why the workforce may draft a quarterback. Amongst these quarterbacks is Roethlisberger, who restructured his contract this offseason so as to assist the Steelers preserve a few of their in-house free brokers.
“It is an uncommon group in that we do have 4 [quarterbacks],” Colbert stated. “Are you able to add a younger one? Completely. We at all times must be on the look out for that subsequent man and attempt to predict the worth of taking the participant at that place. As a result of most certainly, a younger quarterback will not play for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021. We have 4 veteran guys we’ll attempt to kind by means of. May you add somebody that might be extra assured to be right here for the longer term? Completely, and that is our job to attempt to worth that.”
So far as their present quarterback room is worried, Tomlin is happy to get the chance to work with Haskins, who simply two years in the past was one of many top-rated quarterbacks within the draft. Haskins signed a one-year cope with the Steelers in January after simply 16 begins in Washington.
Colbert used Roethlisberger for example because it pertains to taking one of the best participant out there and never focusing an excessive amount of on the place. After a 6-10 season in 2003, the Steelers chosen Roethlisberger with the eleventh general choose regardless of veteran Tommy Maddox coming off of two statically sturdy seasons. Roethlisberger took over for an injured Maddox two weeks into his rookie season, and has been the Steelers’ beginning quarterback ever since.
“Ben wasn’t a positive choose once we had been sitting there at 11 as a result of we had extra urgent points,” Colbert stated. “When Ben was there for us, it could have been an enormous mistake to not take him. So we’ll at all times be open to including to what we imagine is essentially the most essential place. However once more, we be ok with having 4 vets to work with at this level.”