Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin met the media on Monday for their annual pre draft press conference to talk about the upcoming draft. Below is the audio from the press conference and I will be filling in the key talking points from today, albeit not too many.
The situation with restricted free agent Mike Wallace was addressed and both Colbert and Tomlin continue to say that they are committed to trying to get Wallace signed to a long-term deal. Tomlin said that they are not worried about all of the recent reports that Wallace intends to not sign his tender and hold out instead. Colbert said that the Wallace situation will not influence what they do in the draft.
Right now they are about 98% done with their draft preparation and the board is pretty much set. Colbert said Steelers will make their 10 picks from a pool of about 150 players and said that there are 7-10 “surefire” first-rounders. After those players, teams will be taking more of a gamble than in past years. He also stated that there is not a lot of players in this draft that could be immediate impact guys for us. Colbert added, “need” is not the word. The word is “want.” We want good players.
They are still waiting on late medical and character information according to Colbert. Colbert thanked the scouts and everyone associated.
Colbert said that running back coach Kirby Wilson is back in the fold and helping with the running back evaluations. He will be with them during the draft as well. Wilson is working around his rehabilitation with laptops when needed.
Colbert states that going into the draft preparation the most numbers are at wide receiver and cornerback and that has not changed. The least depth is at fullback, tight end, center and safety. He says when you get into the second round, teams often go off into their own directions based on need. Expects it to happen quicker this year.
Colbert stated that as always they will make all of their calls in regards to possible trades. They will know by draft day who is willing to come down or up and they will weigh the cost of doing business with each of those teams. They will weigh the players they will potentially pass up by moving up or down.
Less easy picks this year in regards to other years. Colbert says every player needs to be evaluated depending on how good or how poor of team he played. It is easy to over value players that played well on poor teams. Not a lot of players in this draft that are the types than be considered immediate impact players according to Colbert.
Ed Bouchette asked specifically about Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe and was warned that they do not talk about specific players.
Tomlin said you bring some players in for pre draft visits for a variety of reasons. Some guys it is medically related, some you have to spend more time with to ask them more questions in an effort to get more comfortable. Sometimes it\’s just a guy that is new on your radar that you missed opportunities to visit with. During those visits guys can obviously help themselves according to Tomlin. He also said that smoke screens could be one of those reasons as well.
Super Bowl championship caliber is how the roster is evaluated.
Colbert said in regards to the draft, you can\’t miss on picks one, two or three as they are premium picks and you shouldn\’t miss on a first rounder and that\’s a given. With the two\’s and three\’s, if you miss on one of those it sets you back and you better hope you got lucky in a later round to compensate for that. The higher the pick, the better the chance of him being an impact player.
A premium is placed on talent and their willingness to learn, pedigree and character said Tomlin. An intrinsic value of winning in a players history could be important.
Tomlin said at some point in the draft they will likely address the offensive line. Says everyone is a little thin everywhere at this time of year.
When you don\’t get the first round pick right, it sets you back four years per Colbert. They will watch the free agents going forward and always open to adding a free agent that might get flushed out by another team if he is a fit.
If they get a fullback in this draft, great, if they don\’t, that is fine too according to Tomlin. There are not many fullback candidates out there according to Tomlin as there are not too many fullbacks in college. The pool isn\’t what it used to be and that is why you see the scarcity in the position.
There was never a sense of nervousness as it related to Wallace in free agency as he really was not on the open market as a restricted free agent. The decision on whether he stayed or went would also be theirs in regards to Wallace and it remains that way. They want Wallace to be here for the long haul and he know that and we know that according to Colbert and hopefully at some point we get that done.
Tomlin says tight end Leonard Pope is a player that was on the wrong side of the confetti and he has a history with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Veteran football player that is hungry and he is an attractive player.
More added shortly: