Hired in 2000, Kevin Colbert made only two first round trade-ups. Sure, they’ve attempted to go up before. Trae Waynes several years ago (bullet dodged, by the way). Rashaan Evans last year. But a deal couldn’t get done.
Tonight, the stars aligned.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had the picks. And they got their guy.
Speaking with the media following their selection of Devin Bush, trading up ten spots to get him, Colbert explained what made the trade possible.
“When we gave away the second round pick the thing that allowed us to do that was having that high third,” he said. “We actually gave up 14 spots. That second and that third, that high third, really enabled us to do it.”
That third round pick is #66 overall, the second selection of the 3rd round. That came over from the Antonio Brown trade with Oakland. Colbert went as far to admit that had Brown not been traded, or had the Steelers not gotten that high third rounder, they wouldn’t have had the ammo to trade up for someone like Bush.
“Without [the AB trade], we would not have made this trade today. I’m very comfortable in saying that. Because we would not have had enough picks to do it.”
Colbert revealed their plan was to enter Friday with at least two picks over the second and third rounds. They remains the case, choosing twice in Round 3 – #66 and 83.
“We said under no circumstances we would go into tomorrow with less than two picks. That was our criteria when myself and coach and Art Rooney sat down. Sure, we’re looking to trade up but we want to have two picks tomorrow because there’s still good players left.”
The expected third round comp pick next year for Le’Veon Bell also played a role in the deal, Colbert said. The Steelers traded a future third round pick to seal the deal but having that presumed third rounder for Bell again created a level of comfort for the front office.
So for the third time as GM, Colbert made his move up. Let’s just hope Devin Bush either becomes a Hall of Famer like Troy Polamalu or makes a defining Super Bowl play like Santonio Holmes.