Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Defends Quality Over Need Draft Strategy

We will likely never know if the Pittsburgh Steelers had Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller rated higher than Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, but being has general manager Kevin Colbert decided to pass on Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard to take Shazier with the 15th overall selection in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s a pretty good bet the Buckeye was the target all along.

“Ryan Shazier was someone we valued and valued very highly,” said Colbert during the post selection press conference.

The Steelers need for a young cornerback in this draft is an obvious one, yet Colbert stood by his decision to take the best player available over a need.

“We’re well aware of who we have on our team,” said Colbert. “But when we can add a player of quality, it will override the need at any time.”

In total, five cornerbacks were taken in the first round Thursday night, so it appears as though the Steelers will likely wait until round three or later to address that position.

The Steelers are scheduled to pick 14th overall in round two.

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

    wow. I’m floored.

  • Steelers12328882

    I woulda been pissed if Fuller was still on the board, but I didn’t want Dennard and the only WR worthy of 15 was Beckham and he was gone. Nice pick. Not sure who on here(Matt Manzo maybe?) has been talking this guy up as our 1st rd. pick the last few weeks but nice call.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m startin to get better at this thanx to you guys! And I really wanted Shazier, but I didn’t think the FO liked him that much! They did good confusing everybody with all the visits!

  • steeltown

    Good point. The only guys left I liked at #15 were Dennard and Shazier

  • Big White

    time to go dude. The one corner that everyone and I mean “everyone” agrees is Day One Ready and Colbert punts.

  • Doug Sawyer

    after my initial freak…I’m good with this pick

  • Jollyrob68

    People need to look at the draft visits for a better idea of who the Steelers might take like Cockrell in the later rounds. Philip Gaines in Rd 2-3. Maybe Jaylin Watkins

  • John C

    With the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the 2 time 8-8 Steelers draft a OLB they don’t need!!! Bungles get Dennard, Ravens get Mosley, Browns get Gilbert and Steelers get……….Shazier????

  • Steelers12328882

    I like Watkins a lot.

  • Iron Cadet

    ilb that they need badly. just because he isnt a cb or a receiver doesnt make it a bad pick. watch his tape, or look at his combine stats. best in brad jump and vertical (42in.) and runs 4.38

  • John C

    So we don’t get many 15th overall picks…..you waste it on a position you don’t need? So are the Steelers saying that Jones isn’t the answer or that we are not going to be able to sign Worilds? Should have kept Woodley then and cut him next offseason. Ok, Cockrell in the 5th round…he should be ready to start in about 3-4 years…..meantime?

  • Douglas Andrews

    After the first round I think we improved our Defense and there are some nice options left for rounds 2-4 to continue to retool our D.

  • Doug Sawyer

    he runs a 4.4 40…line him up at cb for all I care

  • Brendon Glad

    my trust level is very high on Colbert’s first round picks. That’s been his strongest attribute. So I expect him to be an excellent player.

  • Jesse Murray

    He isnt an OLB.

  • steelster

    shazier will play ILB and he has the ability to play outside. Much like Timmons. The pick makes sense.

  • Jason Vancil

    He is a ILB in the 3-4. Timmons likely will move over to Buck and Shazier plays the Mack. Shazier plays at about the same weight as Farrior.

  • Ike Evans

    He didnt fit our scheme

  • Ike Evans

    I agree bro

  • http://batman-news.com MC

    Colbert has it right on this. The quality of Shazier was too good to pass up. Dennard at 15 could bite us down the line as a reach trying to fill a need, Shazier is more of a guarantee to be a stud in the nfl and thats what you pick typically in round one.

  • Big White

    Yeah, well “our” scheme has sucked there Ikey. Tim Tebow threaded our D, it’s been going on for nearly 7-8 years now dude. Why don’t you enlighten us on who does fit “our scheme”? is it William Gay? or maybe Will Allen? I mean these guys haven’t even picked off a guy in years. So, are you advocating for more Ike Taylor centerblock hands? Oh, your name is Ike too, I get it.

  • Dale

    whoa there big white chill homey

  • PA2AK

    Time for a nap? ’05, ’08, and appearance in ’10….flukes right?

  • Big White

    Dennard & Mosley will haunt us, bank it, dark day in Steeler history from a team that used to profess press defense in the passing game and agility in the linebacker position. Either one would make us a playoff team next year. Now……..”he needs time to develop” :(

  • Dale

    Having two ILB’s who can cover well on the field at the same time is going to add something to our defense we haven’t had for a while now. Maybe next round we can grab somebody like jean-baptiste from nebraska, big athletic dude who can man up on the outside and fix the CB position.The defense just got better tonight

  • PA2AK

    You’re a riot!

  • Big White

    I just pray to god we can get another OLB in the draft tomorrow. You know they have that supplemental draft now where usually the Bengals and Raiders pick up some delinquent who stabbed someone but went on to averageness. Have Colbert call Al Davis’ daughter. I’m not kidding, I think she’s the acting GM behind Reggie Mckenzie’s back, but have Colbert call her to ask how to draft “potential”.

  • PA2AK

    Agree, and dude isn’t day one starter ish either.

  • Big White

    I thought Moats signing was supposed to give us comfort. I guess he sucks too, huh??? Give us your tired, your poor, your outside linebackers.

  • Ike Evans

    Don’t shoot the messenger bro….that’s the scheme we have…dick Lebeau likes tall guys….dick Lebeau runs off coverage….dennard is a short guy…dennard is a man press specialist…not surprising to me knowing our scheme that they passed…I wanted Justin gilbert…he has good hands…and I don’t like like or William gay but that doesn’t make dennard the answer

  • MailboxKid

    I take Donald if he’s there for record. Did what they had to. They looked for a trade but I don’t think there was anything going. I was hoping a LT would drop, dolphins to trade. Good pick under the circumstances.

  • Jide Sobamowo

    I like Watkins as well because of his versatility (safety and corner)…Got good practice trying to cover his brother I’m sure…

  • Jide Sobamowo

    He’s light in the a$$…He doesn’t look 237 at all and his lower trunk is skinny. Can see him in sub-packages early, but as a 3 down backer he needs at least 20 more pounds especially in his lower body.

  • Jide Sobamowo

    Feel you BW….

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Gay had a pick six last yr if im not mistaken

  • SteelersDepot

    You didn’t see Moats play last year, did you? He is a two down inside linebacker at best and better served to play backup outside linebacker with the Steelers as he was a pass rushing defensive end in college.

  • steelster

    Is Moats good on special teams?

  • Big White

    WADR,

    The Steelers just drafted #15 overall pick who is probably 30/70 to start over Spence and Williams. I’m high on Moats’ flexibility, but Championship Organizations don’t get 15 picks every once in a while. Last time, I think we got Ben at 12, i think. I’ll sing it til the cows come home…..1st & 2nd Round picks have to start DAY ONE or it is an admission of failure. period.

  • Jeff

    Hahaha… I think a lot of people agree, myself included… I had to re-read 4.37 five or six times before I believed it

  • steelster

    If the steelers would have drafted a cb in the first round I doubt he would have started day one. The odds are high that shazier starts over Williams on day one.

  • Big White

    You may be correct in your evaluation, but is it unrealistic with the money that comes with a 1,2 selection to expect to start? I know we used to make our gravy with 4th & 6’s but hey, those back to backs who can start are dope. Plus, I’m tired of being the farm team for the Cards, Saints, Bengals, etc…

  • Big White

    Didn’t the Steelers go Casey Hampton & Kendrell Bell one year????

  • atlanta412

    Great piece for sub packages. Jones, Shazier, Spence, timmons, all on the field at once.

  • steelster

    yes the steelers need to do better in the mid to late rounds to get back to being a superbowl contender. Not sure what you are saying about the money part.

  • atlanta412

    Shazier is better than mosley. Mosely is not much better than vince williams, he just played at auburn. Not a 3 down back.

  • steelster

    Yes. That can still happen this year if they select Louis Nix or a big wr. They could also take a cb in the second round who could be starting by years end.

  • steelster

    Mosley is a 3 down back but dropped a little in the draft because of his injury history.

  • Big White

    A few years later, Timmons and Woodley b2b.

  • Big White

    bama. 3 year starter for saban

  • steelster

    Here is something to think about. The steelers just drafted a linebacker that is faster than Dennard and Fuller. Shazier might be able to average 10 sacks a year from the ILB position.

  • Steven Nickels

    Shazier will be a new breed of linebacker that will change way the position is played, like troy did as a safety!!! blitz-burgh 4.0!

  • Louis Goetz

    Ever Since Tomlin came to town this team has been overly-enamored with speed. The roster has been littered with guys who can run sub-4.4’s, but can’t play football. Remember when Tomlin wouldn’t let Rainey participate in the backs on backers drill saying he wasn’t going to “pull his boat with a Ferrari?” The team fell in love with Robert Golden who ran a 4.4 at 205 lbs., but he couldn’t play safety. Justin King ran a 4.31 at the combine but couldn’t cover Kelvin Beachum, much less Kelvin Benjamin. Anthony Madison was a 4.4 guy who didn’t stay on the roster because of his coverage abilities. I could literally go on and on. I seriously hope this guy isn’t just another speed guy that Tomlin has fallen in love with. We’re going to have 5 starting LBs, and the only 5-2 defense I’m familiar with has 5 lineman and 2 backers; not the other way around.

  • Steelers58

    Dude you’re a bandwagon fan go root for the cowgirls. I bet u had no problem w steelers going to three bowls recently. Now it’s time to rebuild our defense. Don’t worry about playoffs. We r still two yrs away from that

  • steelster

    Every team in the nfl misses on some players because of speed. This isn’t news and will always be part of the game.

  • Steelers58

    Please don’t ever post about football. U r an clown.

  • Louis Goetz

    If you want to feel good about this pick, or Tomlin’s line that Shazier’s “got no holes” DO NOT watch the video of the Clemson OSU game. If you do, you might see Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd and even Martavius Bryant abuse Shazier like its going out of style.

  • shawn

    Now that Gilbert is gone .. who do u like for our CB picks ??.. i think we have to at least double dip now that we passed in the 1st …

    Im thinking P. Gaines is the more solid of the bunch … a little light but seems to be around the ball and super quick/fast …

    Jean- Baptiste is intriguing and Desir possibly but i dont think he will last til the end of the 3rd …

    Really would like colvin as our 5th comp pick

  • shawn

    i hope not watkins

  • shawn

    pass … looks to much florida athlete and not enough cb football player

  • Louis Goetz

    You’re probably going to want to stay away from the Michigan State game, too. Scratch that. It’s not probably. You’re definitely going to want to stay away from the MSU game.

  • shawn

    If he ends up being the answer at ILB … I’m good with the pick as it was an area of need … but i was of the mindset to give Williams one more year and see what spence could do ….

    plus maybe somebody like Skov in the 3rd or 4th could have filled that role … but like i said if he works out and plays this year at ILB … might be a good pick

  • shawn

    the guy is definitely a player ( just now looked at a little tape) still looks a little light (actually by weight height he is bigger than others) but do u think he can fill the ILB role that we traditionally use or is he more of a fit for the type of def we are moving towards

  • shawn

    he definitely looks light like u said … not sure if he can gain more than a few more pounds though …. dont see him above 245 ever

  • shawn

    i agree with u on his speed and his play making ability, but he wasn’t exactly a sack monster at OSU

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Gotta give you credit, Matt. You were touting Shazier from the very beginning. Well played, sir.

  • Hard Row

    Colbert and Tomlin draft like a fantasy football team that lost internet connection and got put on auto pick and is given a second QB in round 8 because he was next on the list.

    Maybe we better hope there’s a run on QBs early in the second. They did draft Landry Jones for no reason last year. Maybe Derek Carr will just be too good to pass up.

  • Matt Manzo

    There was a few weeks that I thought Telvin Smith was better but when Shazier added weight and was still blazing fast, that’s when I wanted him!

  • dave

    Shazier did visit – the first round pick almost always does.

  • scott2443

    i dont think he has to defend the pick i think the steeler nation believes hes worthy of a pick by steelers….they as i were just surprised it wasnt a cb …but now that hes in the barn its time to feed him and get him big and fat so he can slaughter the league .

  • Steeler Wheeler

    In football terms, that’s like twice as fast as JJ. Besides Timmons, our LB are way too slow.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Steelers have 3 safeties and 3 corners who can play…CB pick is for the future and we do need a couple. Steelers also have just 3 LB who can play (counting Jones and that may be wishful thinking)…totally a need pick and not wasted. Dude will be active and play in packages in week one, likely starting before the end of the year. Everyone who loves the underdog (Vince Williams) or the feel good story (Sean Spence) can now start saying thank goodness we actually have a player now, Shazier is here.

  • joed32

    Tim Tebow was 10 of 21 vs the Steelers with that one big play where the Steelers screwed up the coverage.

  • Brian Tollini

    If Desir is there in the 3rd round I believe he is our guy-but I am also on record saying if Dennard is there, he is our guy. The FO knows what they are doing-I only pretend I do. There is the difference.

  • atlanta412

    My mistake big white. He is a crimson tide guy. I just think Shazier is the answer for today’s big slot rec and TE matchups.

  • DB84

    Agreed. For the mock contest I only had Shazier or Dennard left. Good pick and it looks like other teams were not that high on Dennard either since he did drop a good bit

  • DB84

    Wow. any points you make are ridiculous when you say our scheme and D has sucked for 7-8 years. I guess that 08 SUPER BOWL D that was completely dominant wasn’t up to your standards? Cornerback is not as valuable in our defense and we haven’t gone CB round 1 since 97, yet we are consistently a top 10 defense over that time. Also, if Dennard was so great, why did he drop all the way to 24?

  • Ike Evans

    I love Phillip Gaines….don’t like Jean Baptists for us but he’s good….the guys I like are Pierre desir, Donate Johnson, Antone Exum, and my main man Keith McGill from Utah that nooooobody talks about. The wildcards though? Look out for jaylen Watkins of course and Aaron colvin….maybe even baushad breeland too…darkhorses if we double dip

  • Smokin_Smiley

    he would of been exposed in off man wich is what we do a lot. we are a zone blitzing team and he a solid man to man guy…same reason we didn’t pick up revis years ago don’t worry lake has a corner in mind and I think we will get a good one in the later rounds that he can school up for a year to take taylors job next year

  • steeltown

    W.Allen and WillieG both recorded a pick last year, actually WillieG returned his for a TD… just sayin

  • shawn

    like some of the ones mentioned .. definitely NO to McGill … he is so out of position its not even funny … he could possibly play S but he is definitely not a CB, dont like Watkins either … so whats the deal with SJB that u dont like ?

    Man was really hoping for Gilbert … read somewhere today that was their main and only CB target in the 1st as well !

  • Louis Goetz

    Amassed tackles is the most misleading statistic ever. If a guy tackles a RB at the line of scrimmage or gets trucked and finally brings him down 4 yards later he gets credited with the same thing: a tackle. Your comment about a linebacker not being able to cover Sammy Watkins is ridiculous. My comment wasn’t regarding his ability to cover Watkins. Go watch the film instead of making nonsensical comments and you’ll see Watkins run Shazier over like he was a tackling dummy. I’ll bet its a highlight Shazier is embarrassed of.

  • Ike Evans

    McGill actually moves better then SJB…like way better….I don’t think SJB can play zone…I think he’s strictly a man corner and trying to convert him will take years we don’t have,,,,plus he just doesn’t have the quickness for zone

  • shawn

    got it … ya i kinda agree that SJB would be much better in man … i wish we did play man like Seattle … its not that their corners are so great ( they are good) but its that they play man and are physical that makes them so productive …

    as far as Mcgill he plays way too flat footed and has like zero reaction time … out of the entire draft I’m most negative on him .. barely had to watch any tape to have complete confidence in that there is next to no way he makes it in the NFL as a CB … i predict he will either wash out completely or be converted to Safety by the end of his 1st year.

  • Iron Cadet

    He is definitely an injection of youth and speed. Colbert and Tomlin kept saying that we needed a playmaker and that’s what shadzier is. I think theres a reason we took him over cj mosely. The guy is explosive, twitchy, and he is different than any other linebacker on our team

  • shawn

    not against the pick if he is penciled in as the 3 down ILB … definitely improves our team on paper … lets see how it plays out … hoping next 2 rounds are solid !

  • Iron Cadet

    Me too! We have needs at defensive end and cb but I know the fans will riot of we don’t get a receiver too.

  • SfSteeler

    4.4 speed covering the middle, with Shaizer and Mitchell, lets Troy return to his natural instinctive ball hawk ways!

  • Matt Manzo

    I meant that every position visited. If we seemed focused on one position it looked like WR. They didn’t give us any sort of idea what direction they were gonna go.

  • Louis Goetz

    No one said Shazier was covering Watkins. What kind of comment is that? Why don’t you educate yourself by watching the game tape. There’s a YouTube video that specifically highlights Shazier on each play in the Clemson game. If you watch it you’ll see Tajh Boyd run past Shazier as if he was standing still. Then you’ll watch Martavius Bryant run right past Shazier as if he was standing still. Then you’ll watch Sammy Watkins, the smallest of the 3, run right THROUGH Shazier.

  • dave

    It did surprise me too, but in 20-20 hindsight it shouldn’t have been a total shock, he was on the visit list and he was expected to go around 15-20th pick.

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s what’s great about these picks! They are the talented, athletic playmakers we’ve avoided in the past, usually taking safer guys or more scheme guys.
    We all said Archer would be awesome but 3rds too high to take RB!
    And when was the last time we drafted the fastest player at the combine?!

  • Gautama Om

    They need fast, athletic PLAYMAKERS on this slow defense and Shazier is EXACTLY it. Mosley is broke. Dennard is small and can be beat by larger WR’s in the redzone (see him vs. Cody Latimer), Gilbert is athletic but SOFT and a DIVA. No thanks.

  • Gautama Om

    I usually am on Colbert’s case during draft day but I’d have to say I’m extremely impress by the first two picks. Tuitt is clearly round 1 talent even with his lesser production in 2013 due to injury. Had he not been injured in 2013 (and replicated his 2012 production) I think he would have been a top 15 pick easy this year.

  • Gautama Om

    Exactly. I was laughing reading the “experts” predictions (including Steelers fans) thinking we will/should take Dennard. NOT a fit in a zone defense like the Steelers. The Steelers have hardly ever used high picks on CB’s simply because that’s too much of a waste on defense that plays more zone.