PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers won’t trade up in the first round of the NFL draft, general manager Kevin Colbert said, and it sounds like they are content to stay where they are at No. 15 overall.
“I think there’s at least 19 [players] that you’d be happy to get at pick No. 15,” Colbert said Monday.
That doesn’t mean the Steelers won’t consider trading down in the first round -- something they haven't done since 2002 when they moved back three spots and picked nose tackle Casey Hampton while acquiring a pair of draft picks from the Jets.
Colbert said the Steelers will consider trading down after seeing which players are available at No. 15. With such a deep draft it could be difficult for the Steelers to move back in the first round with so many other teams presumably trying to do the same thing.
Colbert said the quarterbacks are the X factor in determining how much movement there will be in the first round.
“I think the quarterbacks are the linchpin in this whole thing and how teams value them,” Colbert said. “I think if you polled all 32 teams I think they all have the quarterbacks rated differently because I think there’s different likes and dislikes for each player that every organization has. I think that’s the one thing that could really trigger the trade up or trade down because there’s a lot of depth at the other positions and it might preclude teams from trading up.”
Colbert said the Steelers won’t trade up in the first round since they are not allowed to deal their third-round pick because it is a compensatory selection. The Steelers are unwilling to trade their second-round pick because Colbert said the draft is so strong that first-round talents will fall to the second round.
Colbert said at the NFL scouting combine more than two months ago that this was the deepest draft he had seen in 30 years of scouting it. With the Steelers nearly finished evaluating prospects and putting their draft board together, Colbert said, “I still believe that.”