Kevin Colbert Anticipates Multiple 2017 Compensatory Picks

Doing a little bit of late spring cleaning on some of the notable takeaways from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ post-draft press conferences.

In one of his final answers following the draft, Kevin Colbert confirmed reports that the team was looking to move up into the 5th round. Going into Saturday’s final day, that was the Steelers goal.

“When we looked at it, before the start of the fourth round, we thought there were at leat 50 guys who could make this team. And with those kind of numbers, we wanted as many picks as we could get.”

Colbert cited a shared league-wide mentality, recognizing the deep pool of talent remaining. Despite their efforts in talking to “numerous” teams, the Steelers were forced to stand pat, waiting until the late sixth to make their next selection.

Of course, Colbert also admitted before the draft they were unlikely to trade up because of a lack of ammunition. Post-draft, his tune had changed, and he implied the Steelers would’ve moved 2017 picks to get into the 5th round. The reason? An expectation of compensatory picks for next season, and the first year those picks would become tradeable.

“When I was talking about trying to get another pick in this draft, we would’ve traded a pick from next year’s draft because we anticipate getting two or three [compensatory] picks. So if you’re pretty sure you’re going to get those, why not trade one to help us this year?”

I, we, aren’t ones to try and wade through the complicated, secretive compensatory system, but it was a bit surprising to see Colbert sound so sure about it. Less than a month ago, Dave Bryan penned the 2017 compensatory outlook “isn’t good,” and laid the reasons out well.

The compensation could largely be circled around how Kelvin Beachum’s contract is viewed by the league. He’s currently working on a one year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars but has a big-time option for the following four seasons. In Dave’s post, agent Joel Corry stated the NFL is likely to view it as just a one year deal.

If that proves to be the case, the loss of him and Steve McLendon will largely be cancelled out by the additions of Ladarius Green and Ryan Harris. And while the team has lost more than they’ve added in sheer number, small contracts like Byron Stingily and Terence Garvin aren’t going to move the needle much.

In this scenario, I could still see the Steelers netting a 6th round compensatory pick. Two or three seems like a stretch. Of course, the last major factor in the compensatory formula is playing time. Brandon Boykin may be playing for pennies but should see the field quite a bit, especially after the release of Josh Norman.

Regardless of what we think, the Steelers are clearly operating under the assumption of netting extra picks and going into the 2017 draft with at least nine. Even though the Boykin and Josh Scobee deals weren’t remember fondly, perhaps that will have an influence to make another training camp trade in the event of injury. Understanding their mindset certainly helps understand their decisions.

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