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Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Discusses Draft Class, Free Agency, Sean Spence And More With Media


Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert will be Indianapolis next week for the scouting combine, but sat down Wednesday with several members of the local media to answer questions pertaining to the team prior to leaving. Below are a few of the talking points that Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest passed along on Twitter.

As far as the 2014 draft class goes, Colbert reportedly said it's in his opinion that it's as deep across the board as he's seen in 30 years. That's certainly encouraging to hear when you consider that there are a lot of holes, especially on defense, that need to be filled.

With the 2014 status of outside linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds currently up in the air right now, Colbert was asked if there is a possibility that both could be retained. From a cap standpoint, Colbert reportedly said that he didn't see that as being an issue, however, he did admit that Woodley's durability issues are a concern as he's missed 14 games over the course of the last three seasons. In addition, he said he doubts the team will use either the franchise tag or the transition tag on any of their unrestricted free agents this offseason, but that they will indeed be trying hard to re-sign a few of them.

Prior to the new league year beginning in March, Colbert said they had work to do in order to get underneath the salary cap and that a few terminations, extensions and restructures might take place prior to then. It's not hard to figure who he is talking about as both Antonio Brown and Lawrence Timmons could be restructure candidates, while Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Cortez Allen and perhaps even Maurkice Pouncey could see their contracts extended. As far as terminations go, Woodley, Levi Brown and Ike Taylor would all fit the bill, although Colbert, as usual, didn't name any specific players. In addition, Colbert didn't rule out the possibility of a few players taking pay cuts and this certainly isn't a surprise.

As far as the future of linebacker Sean Spence goes, Colbert reportedly said that while he's still in the mix of things, it would be naive for him to say he's over the hump as far as his rehab goes. Spence of course hasn't played since tearing up his knee during the preseason of his rookie season. He is expected to be in training camp this year.

The Steelers added former linebacker Joey Porter to their coaching staff on Tuesday as a defensive assistant and Colbert expects that Jarvis Jones will benefit from that. Porter made a difference in his one season as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater Colorado State.

I will add more talking points in a little and make sure you follow Bouchette and Labriola on Twitter for their updates and links to stories.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • John

    With a draft as deep as Colbert has seen in thirty years, let me note again I have no idea why they ruined our third round pick this year to dabble last year in the draft. We threw away one pick last year on Landry Jones when there was no reason to do so. It is really a shame we could not hold on to the third this year and just take whoever we could get last year.

  • joewalsh

    Certainly agree about wasted pick on Jones. Colbert does some head scratching things. he’s good rounds 1 thru 3, after that not so much.

  • Dennis Nevinsky

    We won’t know about Landry Jones for a few years. I think it was worth a 4th round pick to pick up a developmental QB. The 3rd pick we gave up this year was used on a player who will likely be a starter a safety this year. I think it was a smart move.

  • steeltown

    Cortez Allen, Antonio Brown, William Gay, Ike Taylor, Shark Thomas, Vince Williams, Kelvin Beachum, Brett Keisel, Larry Foote, Clark Haggans… just naming the players that come to mind that were drafted after the 3rd Rd

  • steeltown

    Indeed

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I think you know this, but the 3rd round pick was traded for Shmarko. Whether or not that will be worthwhile remains to be seen. I agree drafting Jones where they did was a mistake. Hopefully, he learned something in practice last year.

  • steeltown

    Because they liked Shamarko Thomas enough to do so, they saw him as a 3rd Rd talent so using a 3rd rd pick from the following years draft to get him made sense, especially considering they’ll most likely be getting 2-3 comp picks this year

  • joewalsh

    over 10 years youre covering here. antonio only pro bowl level talent too. this roster gets us to 8 and 8

  • steeltown

    Im just saying, im missing some and that’s not including undrafted players brought in.. so you base everything off of Pro Bowls? ….not me, great players get snubbed every year. The Pro Bowl is a joke IMO

  • Daniel

    It certainly speaks much about the steelers from an organizational point of view for not giving up on Sean Spence quite yet. I applaud the organization for that!
    Can’t help but wonder what exactly happened to his knee, and hopefully he recovers from it.

  • joewalsh

    No not pro bowl, but pro bowl level talent. every team has players drafted after 3rd round, and undrafted too. bottom line is the talent on this roster is much less than it used to be. regardless of how it was acquired. Colbert needs to hit on a couple of blue chippers this year and next year. the last 2 drafts pretty good IMO. the previous few not so good. 2008 comes to mind. But rather than defend or debate each draft each year, i’m just saying that our roster is not on par with where we were mid 2000s. need better drafts to catch up to san fran and seattle talent level

  • Jollyrob68

    The pick was for Shamarko and I’m glad we got him. Taking Jones was a wasted pick because he still would of been there later. Or they could of gotten another one in the later rounds.

  • Jollyrob68

    He did damage to the nerve and that’s one of the major issues. Nerve damage.

  • NW86

    For the last time…they traded up for SHAMARKO, not Landry. They obviously felt that Shamarko may not have still been around for their regular 4th round pick, and we’ll never know if they were right or not.
    Picking Landry may or may not have been a waste, but that’s not who they traded up for.

  • steeltown

    A lot of it has to do with them keeping the SB roster and their high salaries together, not drafting. In turn we couldn’t afford a few of our better recent draft picks once their rookie contracts were up or afford decent FAs like other Teams acquire, so the roster suffers

  • John

    As to trading up for Shamarko, we seem to be missing the point that they wanted to keep their own pick in the same round last year (which was about 3-5 picks later) to take Jones and did so. That is why they traded a third this year rather than trading their fourth last year and some lesser additional consideration. It also why they did not immediately trade their pick used on Jones last year after securing Shamarko. Hence, the analysis is both whether Shamarko can play (we hope so) and why in the world they would hold on to the Jones pick last year and make it instead of using it as part of the same or another deal. Jones is a big part of the reason why we lost the third rounder and got nothing else back.

  • joewalsh

    true about keeping sb roster together. in hindsight, always easy i guess, shoulda kept lewis, let taylor walk. some of our old vets making lots of money, eating up cap space. gotta get this roster younger and get the talent level higher. only thru draft can we do that. drafting lower each year due to winning makes it tougher to get blue chip talent also.

  • steeltown

    Yea if they would’ve been able to keep Lewis then we wouldn’t be in such dire need of secondary..the focus could be solely on another Safety, and maybe late Rd CB

  • SteelersDepot

    peroneal nerve damage. I have written quite a bit about it: http://www.steelersdepot.com/?s=peroneal+nerve&x=0&y=0

  • Matthew Keaton Stuart

    Here is the list of picks after round 3
    Draft class of 2000:
    Round five pick 137: Clark Haggans Colorado State
    Draft Class of 2002:
    Round four- Larry Foote Michigan
    Round seven- Brett Keisel BYU
    Draft Class of 2003:
    Fourth round- Ike Taylor Louisiana Lafayette
    Draft class of 2004:
    Us drafted free agent Willie Parker
    Draft class of 2005:
    Round six- Chris Kemoautu Utah
    Draft class of 2006:
    Round four- Willie Colon Hofstra
    Draft class of 2007:
    Round four- Daniel Sepulveda
    Round six- William Gay
    Draft class of 2008:
    Round four- Tony Hills OT Texas
    Round five- Dennis Dixon QB Oregon
    Round six- Ryan Mundy S West Virginia
    Draft class of 2009:
    Round Five- Joe Burnett CB Central Florida
    Round six- Rashon Harris DE Oregon
    Round Seven- David Johnson TE Arkansas State
    Draft Class of 2010:
    Round Five- Steven Sylvester LB Utah
    Round Six- Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech
    Round Six- Antonio Brown WR Central Michigan
    Draft class of 2011:
    Round Four- Cortez Allen CB The Citadel
    Round five- Chris Carter OLB Fresno State
    Round Seven- Baron Batch HB Texas Tech
    Draft Class of 2012:
    Round Four- Alameda Ta’amu NT Washington
    Round Five- Chris Rainey HB Florida
    Round Seven- David Paulson TE Oregon
    Draft Class of 2013:
    Round Four- Sharmarko Thomas S Syracuse
    Round Six- Vince Williams ILB Florida State
    I say we did pretty good. And I forgot how many Super Bowls do we have under Colbert???

  • steeltown

    Well, some of those picks didn’t pan out or are playing elsewhere in the League, but yes overall we almost won 3 Lombardi’s in a 6yr span, whether the choice to keep the highly paid veterans together was the right one or not, you cant argue with that success. If we had won that 3rd Lombardi in 2010 against Green Bay, people would be talking “dynasty”

    Now… we are in transition

  • dennisdoubleday

    Since we weren’t in the room, we have no way of knowing what they were thinking, but they may have been worried that somebody in those 4 picks would take Thomas out from under them. I don’t have a problem with that, but I admit to being puzzled as to the Landry pick. I don’t believe he’ll be good, but even if he is, he’ll move on to another team before we need him.

  • Alan Felicia

    I know you like to waive your pom-poms, but, Vince Williams and Shark Thomas? You’re going to give credit to Colbert even though both players were inconsistent this past year?
    Bottom line, Colbert and his staff have been mediocare and lazy for the last 3-4 drafts. He actually showed promised last 2013 draft as I’m sure he got some pressure from the Rooneys. And since, you have your list of players that have contributed, here’s list of bust(s) that were drafted low from 2009 thru 2012:
    2009 – (5) J. Burnett-CB, (5) F. Summers-RB, (6) R. Harris-DT, (7) A. Shipley-C
    2010 – (4) T. Gibson-DE, (5) C. Scott-G, (5) C. Butler-CB, (5) S. Sylvester-LB, (7) D. Wortington-DT
    2011 – (5) C. Carter-LB, (6) K. Williams-OL, (7) B. Batch-RB
    2012 – (4) Ta’amu-NT, (5) C. Rainey-RB, (7) T. Cleamons-WR, (7) T. Frederick-CB

  • dennisdoubleday

    I feel bad for him, but I doubt he’ll make it all the way back. There’s a very fine line; an injury costing a tenth or two of time and ability to cut quite so sharply, and he was only 3rd round material to begin with.

  • dennisdoubleday

    Wow, every team has a lot of busts in the 4-7 rounds, so what?

  • John

    Developmental QB? You either have a real player at QB or you are not going to be good regardless. We have made these picks time and again and none of them have worked out. Tee Martin, Dennis Dixon, Brian St. Pierre, Omar Jacobs. They say the short definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  • Steve

    Should make it up in suplimental picks from who we lost last year.

  • Steve

    All Pro is truly good players.

  • Steve

    Steelers and Green Bay are way ahead of drafting the majority of their team hands down.

  • Melly

    I disagree. There were QBs to be had in the later rounds, and 1 or 2 that ended up being UDFAs. Just too many other holes to fill to waste a 4th on a PS guy. Ben should be playing at a high level for 4 or 5 more years?! By that time, Landry’s contract would be up. If it were a 6 or 7th, I don’t think it would be an issue. Wasting a 4th(especially after trading a 2014 3rd away) was not very smart…my opinion.

  • Melly

    I want Colbert to draft X-men! Give me physical freaks of nature(size, speed, strength)! I say that in jest, but we lack “splash” plays cuz we lack “splash” players! I think we have a good number of solid guys…just not many X-men. Ben is an X-men, AB might be one too?! On Defense it might only be Timmons? Troy was def an X-men, but those days are gone!

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Take a look at the people in your list after Tomlin came aboard and compare them to the list of people in your list before he came.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    He stretched (not avulsed) his peroneal nerve because his injury happened with force medially, which means his LCL tore. The nerve courses anatomically superficial to the LCL. I have no doubt the nerve, which divides into two main branches, has since regenerated but the issue is impulse conduction speed and muscular response => which means though he will be able to walk, run, and play, his lateral shifty speed is likely not good enough to play at an NFL starting level. Thus depending on his rehab aggressiveness, he may not be a starter, but can be a more than capable backup if given the chance.

  • Jazz

    I couldn’t agree with you more; you know, Colbert gets so much praise for being the GM, I never thought that highly of him to begin with. Yes, he has pretty much struck gold with 95% of his 1st round draft picks, but most teams do, not all, but most do. Colbert needs to get this draft right! Last year they waisted a 4th, gave up a 3rd in 2014 for a player that didn’t even start, can someone tell me why? If you’re going to give up a 3rd rd draft pick to draft some1 in the 4th, that player should remind you of a young #43.

  • TheBurgh805

    Finally, the pick will be worth it,

  • Matt Manzo

    Pretty sure the 3rd they gave up was for Shamarko, and I think he does remind them of a young Polamalu. We just need him to show up this year.

  • JAMESH

    Excellent work. Thank you.

  • Steve

    See Troy jump over the center to block the kick, that was xman play. AB is definatly one. Lee will be one also if the Steelers draft him.

  • SFIC

    You’re not related to Al Davis are you? Drafting football players who know how to play football is a priority. Athleticism is important too, but not as important.

  • Melly

    Troy has been great. But sadly, I feel this will be his last year, and it probably will be average at best?!?

  • Melly

    no relation. 11 Larry Footes or 11 Ike Taylors on D are not gonna get it done. Knowing how to play is very important, but this League has morphed into 6’5″ TEs that run 4.4! The League has invested a premium in the Offense entertaining the fans. I made my comment above in jest. But u have to admit, as a Steeler fan, that its INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING watching our D get NO turnovers, and virtually NO pressure/sacks on the QB the last 2 yrs!?

  • steeltown

    Thomas and Williams played well for being rookies, they have high ceilings.

    Waive my pom poms?? Just intelligent banter..im sorry if I don’t badmouth my Team on a daily basis, my Team that has been to 3 SuperBowls in the last decade. I appreciate the success and try my damndest to not be spoiled by it like some. In the end you cant hit on em all every year in the draft. That goes for EVERY Team.

  • Daniel

    I hope you are a doctor or something with the way you are going in-depth about this. Because if you are not, then I’m willing to bet you have no clue what you just said. Plus I still have no clue what you just said!

  • Daniel

    “He was only a 3rd round material to being with”… Really??? You say that as if a 3rd round material is garbage. I would make to sure to look out for your name being called on draft day :)

  • dennisdoubleday

    All I’m saying is that a 1st rounder might have a tenth of a second to give up and still be an impact player. I doubt a 3rd rounder does.

  • Steve

    What you smokin Willard? We had both QB pressure and turnovers. It was not out of this world pressure but still pressure.

  • Melly

    not sure what U are smoking, but numbers don’t lie:
    2012- T15 Sacks, T27 INTs, T18 FumRecs
    2013- T25 Sacks, T29 INTs, T15 FumRecs
    Pitt had 34 sacks…Jax last w/ 31 in 2013
    Pitt had 10 INTs…Hou was last w/ 7…Oak w/ 9 in 2013
    …Sea had 28
    Pitt did a gj w/ FFs @ 19, but only recovered 10 in 2013
    Causing 1.1 TOs a game and sacking the QB 2.1 times a game is crap…for lack of a better word!!!!!
    Not many “splash” plays on defense. Worilds was really the only one who applied pressure on QBs this year.

  • Steve

    Thanks for proving my point!

  • Melly

    I proved MY point, Steve. Good 4 u if u think A TO and 2 sacks a game is something!?!

  • Melly

    I proved MY point, Steve. Good 4 u if u think 1 TO and 2 sacks a game is something!?!

  • LayDownTheHammer

    My fault. Yep you’re right.

  • tim

    Troy has a year..maybr a year and a half left as an ” X-MAN ” id guess…as long as the calf is ok AND no head issues during the season, he SHOULD be fine..

  • tim

    Ehhhh…..

  • tim

    There wasnt alot of lb dratfed ib the 1st rd…smh..

  • tim

    Actually the Steelers where about average in both departments, being a few points lower in the interception category: as far as averages go in the AFC last year

  • Steve

    Do we have twins or is this just a double posting? Melly did you Morph yourself into a guest?

  • http://batman-news.com Tony P

    With our last couple of drafts as examples, these guys wouldn’t know a X-Man if their lives depended on it (their jobs should)!!!!! Both the GM and the Head Coach need to go. Their talent evaluation leaves a lot to desire,,,,,,,8-8 here we come…at best… and please, don’t talk about how good we finished, who is accountable/responsible for the bad start ?????

  • Steve

    Playing 3 rookies on D didn’t help and playing 2 vets (Ike + Clark) that couldn’t tackle, both were major factors. On offense, the shuffle on the line losing Pouncy and Bell not playing. No one thing just a bunch of different things.

  • Jazz

    Hmm! What I don’t understand is this; why not put these Rookies in there and let them learn? It seems like when they make one or two mistakes, Tomlin jerks the guys out of there. It also appears that Big Ben got frustrated a little with WR Markus Wheaton on a few snaps last season as well. Hmm! I recall #7′s Rookie season, his All Star Guard called him out even before he got on the field, he needs to remember those things when he is dealing with a rookie WR. And please! Big Ben isn’t perfect, he made plenty of mistakes his Rookie season as well. Get the Rookies in there and allow them to learn. Imagine if they did that in the past 4yrs and developed some of the guys, maybe the Steelers would have some depth and wouldn’t have to rely on so many Rookies in 2014.

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