Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert alongside head coach Mike Tomlin, hosted their annual pre-draft press conference this morning, to outline their plans for the upcoming NFL Draft starting Thursday. Since the beginning of this process, many have linked their first round pick to Alabama running back Najee Harris.
Many pundits and fans alike have scrutinized the idea of the team investing at the running back position in the first round. Yet, considering the departure of former starter James Conner, the need for quality talent at this position has been at the top of their list.
Before answering questions, Colbert was candid about the challenges he and others in the organization faced during the pandemic this year. He detailed how the draft process was harder due to not having the NFL Combine. He proceeded to acknowledge Tomlin for his contract extension, and the staff for their hard work during this process.
In terms of his approach coming into this year's NFL Draft, Colbert revealed that of the 75 players on the roster, 50 of them have played in meaningful NFL games. Colbert went on to affirm they were "wide open to anything" heading into this year's draft.
When he was asked about the possibility of trading up, Colbert responded that he was "very doubtful". He later added; "we really value these eight picks they have, five of which in the top 140". Much later when asked about training down, he was seemingly ambiguous in his response:
"We’re always going to value quality of quantity, but if we’re not comfortable with what we see at 24, we’ll trade back."
Arguably, the most defining moment of press conference occurred when he was asked about the risks of drafting a running back in the first round. Colbert responded assertively:
"First, I don't think you can ever underestimate the value of a quality player at any position, and running back is no different"
While he acknowledged how the game today is primarily focused on vertical offenses, he insisted that dynamic players should be able to affect the game no matter the position;
"If you have a dynamic player at any position, that player should make a difference, and running back is no different."
From face value, Colbert's answers in today's conference all but confirmed their plans of taking a running back with the no. 24 pick. One should keep in mind, Colbert has been known to be unpredictable with his picks in the past, and the possibility of a surprise pick in the first round is one that fans should not ignore.