Today is the day. Well, it’s the start of the beginning anyway. We are now into the work week of the 2017 NFL Draft, which is basically what we have all been waiting for for at least a month or more, depending on how seriously you took the notion of the Pittsburgh Steelers acquiring starter-capable talent in free agency.
Some, of course, live for the draft, and you may have noticed that we have several of them on staff, who have produced somewhere in the vicinity of a couple hundred draft profiles leading up to the big event, the primary source of talent for organizations such as Pittsburgh’s.
The Steelers will be holding their annual pre-draft press conference later today, with Head Coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert speaking, as they always do, and while there should be plenty of information to digest over the course of their segment, one thing that you are not likely to hear from their mouths is the name of any specific draft pick. You can watch it live here at noon.
The pair will typically speak for approximately 25-30 minutes on a wide range of topics, but that is something that I expect may go on a bit longer today, as they are likely to speak early about the passing of owner Dan Rooney, and they no doubt will have to field a couple of questions about how that changes everything, including the pre-draft process. It is a big deal to be going into one of these things without him for the first time in literally half a century. The man was negotiating contracts with draft picks before he was legally allowed to.
What you are likely to hear is quite a bit of review, particularly as it pertains to their findings in reviewing their performance in the 2016 season and where they believe that they need to get better. This is something that each of them—including president Art Rooney II—has discussed intermittently in select speaking opportunities over the course of the offseason, but this will be the most exhaustive opportunity to discuss that.
Having had the full breadth of time to digest it, we will also likely be getting more detail as to how they feel that this draft class shapes out, where the strengths and weaknesses are, and things such as that. In case it isn’t obvious, their analysis does not always jive with the popular wisdom of the draft gurus.
More than anything, however, Tomlin and Colbert speaking in their pre-draft press conference is the signal that we are nearly there. The 2017 NFL Draft is now just a few days away, and we will have a much clearer picture of how the team will shape up during the season a week from today. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can hardly wait.