Steelers 2013 Draft – Kevin Colbert & Mike Tomlin Pre Draft Press Conference Audio – Talking Points

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin met the media for their annual pre draft press conference and below is the audio in case you missed it. I will be adding the key talking points covered during their talk after I go back through the audio, so make sure to check back throughout the day.

[audio:|titles=Steelers 2013 Draft – Kevin Colbert & Mike Tomlin Pre Draft Press Conference Audio – Talking Points]

Colbert opens by saying that they weren\’t good enough last year as their 8-8 indicated. The talent that they assembled was an 8-8 team.

Colbert recapped all of the offseason moves and said that they are happy they retained restricted free agents wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Steve McLendon.

Colbert said that the decision to briong back William Gay and Matt Spaeth was due to familiarity and that they were both responsible for past success. They anticipated the Keenan Lewis situation at cornerback and felt getting a player like Gay back was very important, because he was a nice fit and familiar with the packages. As far as Spaeth and David Johnson go, it was real important to get that depth back due to the injury suffered by Heath Miller. Colbert says that they will not know where Miller is until later on in the year.

Colbert said that the roster is currently at 65 players and that they will be adding 25 players over the weekend via the draft and undrafted free agents.

Colbert says that they will be drafting from a pool of 150 players that they have identified. Realistically there are 6-8 guys that he would deem special players, according to Colbert. Round two through three are potential starts and after that they will be looking to add depth.

Colbert says that the class of tight ends, interior linemen and traditional 3-4 defensive ends is not deep this year.

Colbert says you always have to have production from picks one, two and three. When you don\’t, you have a hole. That will be the expectations of whoever they end up with at one. When they play and how much they play will be decided by Tomlin. Colbert doesn\’t envision any player coming in year one and being an impact. There\’s always a growing process.

Sean Spence continues to attack his rehab and Tomlin says that there is no real update on his progress. They understand that it is a process with him, but his demeanor and availability has been good.

They are excited to have David DeCastro back with a year underneath his belt. He is healthy, but hopefully he grew and learned from the time that he wasn\’t on the field.

As far as draft day goes, Colbert says that he doubts that they will move up. The picks that they have the better.

There will be a good player at 17 per Colbert. Colbert insist that they are open, however, to moving up or down. There is nice quality in rounds two through four, according to Colbert.

All injured players are progressing at different stages. Some will be available for OTA\’s, others mini-camp, while others not until training camp. All are proceeding according to plan. No surprises both positively or negatively, according to Tomlin.

Tomlin thinks the secondary class is deep this year due to the amount of spread offenses you are seeing in college right now. The number of sub packages being run to help defend against that, lends to the numbers.

Tomlin says they look at medical and character issues like they always have and they deal with them on a case-by-case basis. We give at all their due diligence.

Its not really scientific. We try to add as many good players that we can, according to Colbert. There is going to be turnover every year. If he had the same team that we had last year, it would be silly to expect different results. Colbert says that they can be judged in February whether or not they got the job done.

All along, Colbert knew the decision to keep Sanders was theirs and theirs alone. Colbert said maybe they can work out a long-term extension with Sanders at some point.

Colbert said the intentions all along was to sign McLendon to an extension. When he visited with the Packers, they had an easy negotiations with his agent because McLendon wanted to stay in Pittsburgh. Sometimes players have to take those trips to confirm interest of other teams, according to Colbert. Colbert said they had planned on talking with McLendon about an extension later in the summer.

Colbert said there is still a chance that they could sign a free agent down the road depending on how the draft goes. He goes on to say that other teams will always flush some veteran players out as well, and that they have to be ready to add one of those if they can and think that player can help the team. As far as adding another running back, Tomlin said it all depends on how the draft goes, but that they are not opposed to adding any players at any position via several different ways.

Colbert says that the wide receiver class is a good group. There are some big ones, some small ones and some return capable ones. It\’s a nice variety.

When they try to figure out the character of a player, Colbert says that it starts with the college reports and his followed up with personal interviews and background checks. Colbert says that he and Tomlin did a lot of follow-up work this year by trying to be proactive in meeting the family of the players. Tomlin reportedly started doing this three years ago. After they draft players, they try to bring families in to get to know the kids better. Sometimes you get the opportunity to do that at a pro day and sometimes you don\’t.

Tomlin reiterated that there really isn\’t any new news as far as Miller and his rehab. Adding Spaeth and Johnson during the offseason helps insulate the position. They will let the draft come to them at that position and others because of that.

Colbert doesn\’t see this draft as being any more critical than any of others. He admits that they did have a few more departures than usual, but they still only have eight picks. ¬†Every year they expect to get the right seven or eight players in the draft. When they don\’t, Colbert said that it hurts. Colbert said that he never expects any draft picks coming in to be immediate impact players their rookie season. If they lined up today with what they have, they\’ll have a chance. They do, however, want to continue to add to that and let those players develop at their own pace. If they come in exceed that expectation the way that Maurkice Pouncey or Casey Hampton did, that is great. They\’ve had great players that had to sit and learn on the other hand and he expects this group to be like that. If they exceed that, that\’s a bonus.

As far as the salary cap goes, Colbert says you always want a cushion heading into the season because injuries always factor into things. In the past, they used to plan on four to six players that they would lose to injury for the season. The past couple of seasons, however, they have exceeded that. The only way they can help guard against that is to get healthy players during the draft. They always have to be ready from a cap standpoint and you always have to have reserves in the bank to accommodate for that.

Tomlin said that Marus Gilbert is left tackle capable just like Mike Adams. They will use the spring and the summer to sort out who will play what side

Colbert said that they haven\’t shut the door completely on players such as Hampton and Max Starks returning. at this point, everything depends on how they feel coming out of the draft. He thinks those players would prefer to wait as well because they could wind up signing and end up behind a first round draft pick. They will keep those kind of players in mind, according to Colbert.

  • David Edward

    I didn’t see a link to the audio

  • Justin

    Kevin Colbert: 21:34 “…make sure we’re getting healthy players in the draft”

    Might rule out Lattimore and Mauti

  • steeltown

    When Colbert (always) says he doesnt expect anyone to come in and make an impact in the first year.. I can only agree to a certain extent, I think Defensive players usually dont step into a role where they must make an impact, usually because we have starters at those respective positions and we dont need them to, BUT regarding Offense, I think any offensive skill position (WR, RB & TE) player that is drafted (especially from Rds 1-3) could and should be expected to make an impact in year one

  • Jason Brant

    I know a lot of people are packing in the Steelers’ season already, but I’m really optimistic about our chances of winning the division. We had so many injuries last year, both to our vets and our rookies, that just having a few of those guys healthy will make a big impact.

    Our o-line alone should make a difference.

  • kev4heels

    based on this presser, I fully expect us to trade down.

  • David Edward

    Colbert left some hints there I think. First, if one of those “special” 8 guys falls to them at 17, they will take that guy obviously. I agree with him that TE, C/G, and 34DE aren’t deep this year. That means if they get a shot at Eifert, Cooper, or Warmack that could be they way they go…and that would be the right way to go.

  • steeltown

    I’m always optimistic entering the new league yr… and you’re right, Im hoping that the young OLine plays well and stays healthy, Adams, DeCastro and Beachum all got valuable experience last year and should improve in their 2nd yr

    Im just hoping for some new faces to bolster WR, RB and Safety

  • Cody Younkin

    The ONLY players i would take at 17 are Vaccaro or Cooper. if they are not there then trade back in the first and get Hopkins or Elam. Preferably Elam to keep him from getting to Baltimore, then draft a WR in the second.

  • David Edward

    I don’t think Vaccaro is in their elite 8, and safety is deep this year so while he’s not necessarily a bad pick, he isn’t the ideal pick @17. Would grade it a C if they pick him @ 17.

  • steeltown

    If the choice was drafting Vacarro or trading back and getting Elam or Cyprein (or Hopkins) AND an extra pick, i’d be more content with trading back

  • Good point, David. Like you, I thought his comment about the class of TE, C/G, and 3/4DE being shallow might offer a hint to the ‘special 8.’ It could also suggest how they might choose their round 2 selection. For example, they might snatch someone like Alabama’s all-everything offensive lineman Barrett Jones or TE Zach Ertz if they feel the talent level will drop considerably after they’re off the board. There’s a good chance they could still get an impact player in round 3 (and maybe 4) re running backs, wide receivers, safeties, cornerbacks, or linebackers. The problem is they need so much! In fact, I disagree with Colbert in one respect. He says that rounds 4 through 7 should be more about adding depth than looking for starters. In my opinion, they’d be wiser to throw the dice in rounds 4 and 5 on players who dropped due to character flaws but otherwise are rated as having top 100 talent. I’m also hoping they can drop back to add more picks and still catch one of their ‘eight’ through a freak of luck.

  • Chris Ranieri

    Agreed! You could also argue that as a defensive player going into the Lebeau system (or any other pro system for that matter) you do not touch the field until you have mastered the entire scheme and your role in that scheme. As an offensive player, although it is important to know what everyone else on the field is doing for various reason, you still can make an impact by just familiarizing yourself with your specific position, or position group.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I completely agree with you, I think we have a great shot at winning the division

  • I always enjoy listening to Colbert talk about the Team even though he is not going to show his hand in a pre draft conference. The Guy is all class and honestly answers questions without sounding defensive or providing the same old blah blah blah and silly catch phrases like head coaches do. Bring on the Draft!!

  • Pete

    Either Cooper or Warmack (at least one of the two) will be there at 17. My only two value picks are Cooper/Warmack or Tyler Eifert. Eifert I’m beginning to doubt that he’ll be there at 17 but he might be depending on what happens before 17. They are the best guys at their positions in the draft and I think safest picks at 17. Everything else is a big risk. I disagree with Vaccaro in that I don’t think he’s 17 worthy. The value isn’t there and that would be reaching.

  • Especially if they are able to have Cooper and/or Warmack drop to them at 17.

  • grw1960

    Will the Steelers trade down or up. How many of you caught that at the 15 minute mark?
    Asked how much it would take to sign the draft picks. And Colbert said ; they didn’t know because they didn’t know where they would be picking on draft day??????? Well ah ah we know where we will be at right now.

  • JC

    I agree. I’m beginning to get the feeling that Tyler Eiffert may be the pick. He’s regarded as the best TE and he does fit the Steelers mold. I’d love to see him in a double tight end set with Heath Miller in the red zone.

  • Lamarr56

    Who else heard Dave asking Colbert questions?