Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert isn’t saying.
“Sure, there were guys that went ahead of Ryan that were really good players,” Colbert said Monday on TribLive radio. “We were extremely excited [Shazier] was there but there were other players that we would have entertained and maybe didn’t have an opportunity to pick them. But that doesn’t diminish our excitement for Shazier.”
The Steelers really liked tight end Eric Ebron, and the North Carolina product certainly would have been prominent in the discussion that preceded the Steelers' first-round pick had he still been available.
But the Steelers were more than happy to select Shazier, who provides speed, athleticism and versatility to their defense.
The Steelers only took one cornerback in the draft but Colbert echoed comments made by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau that the position is not as lacking as has been widely perceived.
"Cortez Allen we think has a real bright future and he should only get better," Colbert said. "When you’ve got a guy like William Gay and Brice McCain and Antwon Blake and we feel nice about what they’re going to be able to contribute. Blake did a great job coming in [last season] and playing mainly on special teams because he was a late addition for us but he’s going to have a whole offseason to grow as a corner.”
Despite taking only one cornerback -- and waiting until the fifth round to select Arizona’s Shaquille Richardson -- the Steelers have generally gotten good reviews for their draft.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Steelers an A-minus for their draft. ESPN analyst Todd McShay also liked what the Steelers accomplished during the three-day draft.
"I was really impressed. I thought they had one of the better drafts of all the teams in the league," McShay said Monday during a post-draft conference call. "I really thought beginning to end that Pittsburgh did a really good job of finding players that fit their system and do multiple things.”