NFL Draft

Colbert/Tomlin Pro Day Attendance Matters For More Than Just First Round Picks

You know the response Dave Bryan or I will offer the moment you mention a candidate to be chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round.

“Well, they didn’t go to his Pro Day so…”


“Colbert and Tomlin attended his workout so yeah, it makes sense.”

And I know that’s pretty binary thinking. It’s not a guarantee. Nothing we saw regarding the draft can be guaranteed. We’re not Kevin Costner inĀ Draft Day. We have zero control over the “no matter what.” But history gives us a strong indication. By now, you’re aware of that stat. The last nine first round picks have seen Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, or both have attended their Pro Day workout.

What about the rest of the draft? It matters less, obviously, but maybe not as much as you’d think. Unfortunately, our sample size is much smaller but over the past two drafts, a correlation still exists.

Here are the facts. Since the 2017 draft, Tomlin and/or Colbert have attended the Pro Day of nine of their 15 selections. Yes, regardless of round. That’s 60%.

Adjust the scope to senior members of the scouting staff, coordinators, and positional coaches, so anyone who isn’t *just* an area scout (their job is critical, don’t get me wrong), and that number jumps to 12 of the 15. So make it 80%.

Combing through our notes and doing a little extra research, here are the results player-by-player.

Steelers Pro Day Attendance
Round Draft Pick Who Attended
1 Terrell Edmunds Colbert/Tomlin/Butler
2 James Washington Tomlin/Colbert
3 Mason Rudolph Tomlin/Colbert
3 Chukwuma Okorafor Dan Colbert
5 Marcus Allen Colbert/Bradley
5 Jaylen Samuels Phil Kreidler
7 Josh Frazier Colbert/Tomlin/Dunbar

And from 2017:

Steelers Pro Day Attendance
Round Draft Pick Who Attended
1 TJ Watt Colbert/Tomlin/Butler/Porter
2 JuJu Smith-Schuster Mark Bruener/Unknown Member
3 Cam Sutton Tomlin/Butler
3 James Conner Colbert/Haley
4 Josh Dobbs Tomlin
5 Brian Allen Mark Gorscak
6 Colin Holba Brandon Hunt
7 Keion Adams Brandon Hunt

The only three draft picks attended only by an area scout were: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chukwuma Okorafor, and Brian Allen. Two of them are West Coast guys, were the Steelers don’t often send their big players and the other was Okorafor, a school that didn’t provide a ton of top level talent him aside. Phil Kriedler and Brandon Hunt have high positions; College and Pro Scouting Coordinators, respectively.

If you’re curious how that shakes out for this year, using our detailed Pro Day tracker, these are the schools that had those big names. The ones with in italics denote a school Colbert or Tomlin attended.

Arizona State
Miami (FL)
Michigan State
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Oklahoma State
Penn State
Texas A&M
West Virginia

It’s still a large list, obviously with 25 schools (update: added Miami) who “made the cut.” And again, it’s no guarantee. In both drafts, there were exceptions to the trend. But if you’re into guessing, the history, or just like having that figure in your back pocket when making a mock, focus on all the players who worked out for Colbert and Tomlin. Not just the top names. That means paying extra close attention to Michigan, Notre Dame, LSU, and Alabama, who boasted a ton of talent for their class.

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