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Monday, April 25, 2011
Will Steelers trade the 31st pick?

By James Walker

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers held their annual pre-draft news conference at the team's training facility on Monday.

As expected, Pittsburgh didn't reveal its draft plans. But director of football operations Kevin Colbert did say the Steelers will be open to trading the No. 31 overall pick in the first round this week.

"The pro scouts will be going through their calls to touch base with every team and see who's interested in trading up and trading down," Colbert explained. "We always tell them we can go either way, and we will depending on who's still available at the top of that first round we might want to go up and get. ... But if there's offers for our picks, we will certainly look at the possibility of going down."

If the Steelers opt to trade in the first round, history suggests the Steelers could be more likely to move up to get a player they covet. The Steelers have held a first-round pick every year since Colbert took over in Pittsburgh in 2000. Where Pittsburgh currently sits at No. 31, a trade down would end that streak in the first round.

Colbert has moved up in the past to draft players such as safety Troy Polamalu (2003) and receiver Santonio Holmes (2006). But who are some players the Steelers may feel are worth trading up for this year?

Could it be Florida guard/center Mike Pouncey, who is the twin brother of Steelers Pro Bowl center Maurkice? What about a cornerback, since that is Pittsburgh's biggest need with top corner Ike Taylor being a pending free agent? Offensive tackles also are valuable in the draft.

After an uneventful offseason, we will get draft answers on the Steelers and other AFC North teams starting on Thursday night.