Steelers unlikely to trade up in NFL draft
By John Harris
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert raised the possibility of trading out of the No. 23 spot to acquire more picks in this weekend's NFL Draft.
Unlike previous drafts, Colbert said the Steelers won't trade up in the first round to acquire a player they really like.
"Being that we only have six (draft) picks at this point, trading up in the first round is really not a likely scenario," Colbert said Monday at the team's South Side facility in the media session prior to the April 26-27 draft. "In other years, I would always say, 'Hey, we could go up, we could go down.' But realistically, I don't think we can go up.
"Trading down is definitely an inviting option," Colbert said, "because there's a lot of players in rounds two, three, four that could help this team, and the more picks we can get in any of those areas the better off we're going to be."
Colbert said the Steelers will make their six draft selections from a final list of 160 players that was pared down from an original 1,000 prospects.
Calling it a "very strong" draft, Colbert was reluctant to pinpoint who the Steelers are targeting in the first round.
For starters, the Steelers aren't in the business of revealing their draft secrets to the rest of the NFL. For another, Colbert said the top of this year's draft remains a mystery.
In fact, Colbert said this draft could be as unpredictable as any in recent memory.
Whether he was referring to trades or teams making surprising picks, Colbert left the door open for several different scenarios leading up to the Steelers' selection at No. 23.
Some of the players who could be on the Steelers' first-round wish list include North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, Boston College tackle Gosder Cherilus, Auburn defensive end/linebacker Quentin Groves, Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart and Oklahoma receiver Malcolm Kelly.
"This is one draft, at this stage, I don't think we've got a handle on a position or one player," Colbert said. "Sometimes you can get that feel. But this year I think there's going to be a lot of variables that's going to happen in front of us. We're not going to lock our knees. We'll be very flexible and try to adjust accordingly."
Refusing to discuss specific players, Colbert said the draft is unusually deep at tackle, with versatile linemen who can play right and left tackle, and others who who can play tackle and guard. The draft is also strong at running back and cornerback, Colbert said.
Colbert said the Steelers won't pass on a player in the first round just because there are other good players at that position.
"We're never going to pass a good player feeling that we're going to get another good player somewhere down the line," Colbert said. "If we really like him, we better take him where we like him.
"I think there's a lot of kids that can go in the second or third rounds that could definitely help us. Some of those kids may get picked in the first round."