The Pittsburgh Steelers are not big movers, either in the draft or outside of the draft, so the fact that they made the biggest move of the weekend, trading their second-round pick and a future third to move up from 20th to 10th in the first round, was momentous. They had only traded up in the first round twice previously, and neither of those were into the top 10. One of them was to trade into a spot even higher than their natural first-round pick this year.
When they do make trades up, it tends to be at the start of day three, as they did in previous years when they traded into the round for Shamarko Thomas and up for Alameda Ta’amu. Heading into today with six draft picks, many wondered if they would try to move again—or to try to get back into the second round yesterday—but after already giving up two picks on Thursday, they had no urge to let go of any more.
“The three number sixes, really, when you’re dealing with sixes you’re probably maybe be able to trade into the fifth round with the sixes”, he said about the excesses resources they had available to them. “You’re not going to be able to go up any higher than that. And we just felt comfortable with the number of players that were left. There was no need to trade up. We were gonna be fine with the group we had”.
Colbert talked about how they evaluate their draft board, which I believe he said included about 150 or so players, and they demarcate a certain level at which they would be comfortable drafting each player in the draft. They came away feeling good about where they got each of their nine players in 2019.
“When we looked at the board, we always talk about a Mendoza kind of line where we think our players are going to come from, and again, those players all came from above that line”, he said. “So we really never felt a need to try to trade up because there was plenty of guys left, and we were happy to have those six picks because now we have, I think we’ve got good competition at most positions going into this season”.
A couple of the names that may have had some outsiders scratching their heads were third-round wide receiver Diontae Johnson and fifth-round tight end Zach Gentry. Some felt Gentry would be a priority free agent signing and that Johnson would be a late-round pick. The Steelers were happy to get them where they did, unconcerned about others’ draft boards—especially internet evaluators.
Pittsburgh was able to address most positions on the roster, and really the only areas they didn’t hit on where one would think they might have considered it would be at safety and at the specialist positions of kicker and punter. Their primary focus turned out to be linebacker, taking three, including two on the day in the sixth round.