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Old 04-25-2006, 12:36 PM   #1
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Default cowher/colbert pre-draft press conference


It won?t be a quarterback
Tuesday, April 25, 2006


As it pertains to the Steelers' plans for the 2006 NFL Draft, there is just one definitive statement that can be made, just one that was made during a Tuesday news conference featuring Coach Bill Cowher and Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert.

The first-round pick won't be a quarterback.

Outside of that, Colbert and Cowher weren't saying, and in truth, they don't have any idea how the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft will unfold when it begins at noon this Saturday.

"When you look at what we lost in free agency and where we are with our team, we are in a position to take the best player," said Cowher. "We are not picking out of need. You are going to address certain positions, and there are certain things you want to be able to come out of this draft with, but we have positioned ourselves to not feel that we have to reach for anybody. We will not take a quarterback with the first pick, but I would say with any other position, we have kept ourselves pretty wide open. We are in a pretty good position to be open-minded."

As for the entire two-day event, the Steelers will go into it with 10 choices ? one in each of the seven rounds, plus two extra picks in the fourth round and one extra in the fifth as compensation for free agents lost last offseason. Because of their win in Super Bowl XL, the Steelers will be picking last in the first round, and that's an excellent spot for a team with an open mind because there's absolutely no telling how the first 31 choices will go.

Because they re-signed nine of their 12 unrestricted free agents and retained all of their restricted free agents, the Steelers emerged from the first phase of this off-season with their roster largely intact and their team chemistry largely undisturbed. And so, they will be able to go into the weekend of the draft knowing they don't need to come out of the first round with a guy who will have to line up on Sept. 7 against the Miami Dolphins.

"Obviously you look at what we lost in free agency as opposed to what we signed. I think that has a lot to do with it," said Cowher. "We are in a pretty solid situation from that perspective."

Indeed, the Steelers roster is so solid at this stage that it's unlikely there will be 10 spots open for rookies come the conclusion of training camp, and for that reason the team may be more inclined to use some of its 10 draft picks as collateral to move up in particular rounds for a targeted individual.

Colbert has shown both a willingness to attempt that and an ability to make it happen. The Steelers traded a No. 3 pick and a No. 5 pick to move up in the first round in 2003 to get Troy Polamalu; they traded up in the second round 2001 to get Kendrell Bell; they traded up in the same round in 2004 to get Ricardo Colclough. A team with more picks than spots on its roster always is a candidate for a trade, and the Steelers seem to fall into that category this year.

"Three of the (extra) picks are compensatory picks from free agency that can't be traded, but it does allow you to trade your others," said Colbert. "I don't think you can ever have enough picks. We will be open to using some of the extra picks for the possibility of moving, if we think we can get a player that we might not have a shot at if we wait."

The NFL is unique in the respect that virtually all of the trades taking place happen during the draft. Teams rarely make trades that are player-for-player, the way it often happens in baseball, basketball or hockey.

"Some of the rules hinder the ability to trade a player because of the acceleration of the signing bonus that stays with the team that traded the player," said Colbert as a means of explaining this reality. "Football is a different sport than other major sports, because players are really part of a unit offensively and defensively and there is a lot of learning that has to go on and a lot of growing that has to go on. So I think you are reluctant."

But that reluctance vanishes on draft day. Colbert said that before the draft, the Steelers will have contacted all of the other teams about their respective interest in trading up, or down, in particular rounds. There is a chart that places a numerical value on every pick in every round, and a number of teams will refer to that chart to determine the fair price for moving up or back in a particular round.

The Steelers know the chart exists, but they view every trading situation as unique and prefer to deal with it that way when the time comes.

"Some teams use the value system and put points on a pick. We have never subscribed to that method," said Colbert. "I just don't think you can lock yourself into making a deal or not making a deal. We try to go back over the draft history and just see what enables you to move up. Obviously, at No. 32 we are as low as you can get in the first round, so it is probably going to take more to get anywhere.

"We went from No. 27 to No. 16 for Troy (Polamalu), and (the cost) was a third and a fifth. So depending on how high you are going, that is probably the range. It is usually going to take multiple picks; teams have even traded their No. 2, depending on how high you want to go."

Over the next few days, the Steelers will finalize their player grades and conduct some of their own mock drafts to get some idea of what they might be able to expect on Saturday. As it was during those critical weeks at the end of the 2005 regular season and through the playoffs and the Super Bowl, it will come down to preparation and then execution.

"Coach has said it before -- it's kind of like game day," said Colbert. "You prepare all year and you go into it with a certain plan and then you have to adjust that as it unfolds. Personally, I think it's exciting."
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Old 04-25-2006, 12:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: cowher/colbert pre-draft press conference

This really doesn't tell us much does it? They will take the best player available, and may or may not move up in the draft.

I'm looking for them to sit tight at #32, and maybe try to move up for later round picks, but who knows?
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: cowher/colbert pre-draft press conference

I agree suit. i believe the same.

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Old 04-25-2006, 04:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: cowher/colbert pre-draft press conference

Originally Posted by Suitanim
This really doesn't tell us much does it? They will take the best player available, and may or may not move up in the draft.

I'm looking for them to sit tight at #32, and maybe try to move up for later round picks, but who knows?
I can possibly see us moving up in the 3rd to take Nance.
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