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DIESELMAN
02-26-2006, 02:15 AM
GM Kevin Colbert keeps his plans to himself. He does drop a few hints here or there, but guessing which players he is targeting isn?t an easy task. He doesn?t mind making a few observations about the draft class, saying what every general manager in the NFL already knows.

The wide receiver crop is particularly weak this year, Colbert noting that all the underclassman coming out last year left little for this year?s draft. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to replace free agent Antwaan Randle El, they might have to do so early in order to secure someone talented.

On the other hand, Colbert raves about the group of linebackers coming out this year, "It's strong at the top and strong in the middle. I think there will even be some kids you'll get on the second day who will be contributors, if not starters."

Rick Gosselin, of the Dallas Morning News, agrees, ?At first glance, I also like the crop of middle linebackers in this draft. There seems to be an abundance of big, smart, productive players at the position.?

A strong linebacker class doesn?t come around all that often and the Steelers have an aging corps that you could use a fresh infusion of youth, particularly after Kendrell Bell?s promising career in Pittsburgh came to a crashing halt.

Colbert will chase a linebacker at some point, but the depth of talent allows him to wait. There will be other needs as the free agency picture clears and personnel guys on the South Side are not afraid to fill those spots with promising rookies, as opposed to expensive veterans.

Gosselin is also excited about the tight ends available in this draft, but the Steelers already scored picking up Heath Miller last April, demonstrating that Colbert will grab value over need if the opportunity presents itself. But Colbert has also shown that he isn?t afraid to be aggressive, moving up to grab the player he covets.

The Steelers can wait and see which linebackers fall to them. If the right guy isn?t there at the end of the first round, another player will be available in a later round. However, the Steelers may determine that one of the linebackers is special, like they did with Bell, and thus more willing to make a move in order to secure him.

Clouding the draft picture are the needs developing at wide receiver, free safety, defensive end, and possibly running back. Concerning that position, Gosselin has already mentioned UCLA?s Maurice Drew, who could replace Verron Haynes as the third-down back and WR Antwaan Randle El at punt returner. Of course, that would mean that the Steelers would go running back on Day 1, which may not be the best idea, letting need overrule the best player available.

The Dallas Cowboys are also in the market for a free safety. Gosselin wouldn?t mind Dallas chasing USC safety Darnell Bing in the first round (the Cowboys pick 18 th). Bing has great coverage skills and may be able to step in right away for a departed Chris Hope. The Steelers could also solve this problem in free agency, which would fall in line with past performance.

Given the weakness of the wide receiver class, there is little to stop Colbert from picking a linebacker on Day 1. The Steelers do not have any glaring needs that free agency couldn?t solve, even for a team pushed up against the salary cap. In just two months, we will find out who will become part of the next generation of great linebackers to play in Pittsburgh.

By Jim Russell
SteelCityInsiders.com
Date: Feb 25, 2006

Kevin Colbert knows the needs of the team and has a good eye for talent,he might be off a little here and there but for the most part he does a damn good job on getting what we need.....not like some GM's that just have to have a top star they don't need at the expense of their real needs....

Ambridge
02-26-2006, 06:07 PM
I don't know how much credit Colbert deserves??
Since the Cowher-Donahoe showdown I'm sure Colbert pretty much just follows instructions and Cowher has the final say on who stays and who goes.