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Kevin Colbert Continues To Be Aggressive With Acquired Draft Picks

Once again, general manager Kevin Colbert and the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to treat their draft acquisitions as ‘house money’, and feel free to use it in a much looser fashion than they ever do their natural draft picks.

So far this offseason, the Steelers gained third- and fifth-round picks for trading Antonio Brown, a sixth-round pick for trading Marcus Gilbert, a sixth-round pick for trading Jerald Hawkins, and a fifth-round pick for trading Joshua Dobbs.

The picks from the first two trades were for 2019, and they utilized those picks, but the third-round pick retrieved for Brown both emboldened and enabled them to make the move up for Devin Bush in the first round, as they gave up their second-round pick and a 2020 third-round pick, the latter of which they expect to replace in the form of a compensatory pick for Le’Veon Bell.

Last week, as part of the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade, the Steelers sent a 2020 fifth-round pick and a 2021 sixth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins. They gained picks in those rounds from the Dobbs and Hawkins trades, though the fifth was conditional.

Now they’ve sent their other 2020 fifth-round pick, the one they got from the Jacksonville Jaguars (non-conditional, presumably) for Dobbs, to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for fourth-year tight end Nick Vannett, a response to the injury to Vance McDonald.

Having now traded their first-, third-, and two fifth-round picks, the Steelers are currently entering the 2020 NFL draft shaping up to have their second-round pick, a compensatory pick in the third, two selections in the fourth (having gotten one from the Dolphins), in addition to sixth- and seventh-round selections.

And for that, they gave up Hawkins and Dobbs, and have gotten back Fitzpatrick, who is expected to be a long-term starter at free safety, and Vannett, who at least for the time being can’t be counted upon as anything but depth on a one-year rental, as he will be an unrestricted free agent in March.

While these moves were made a near necessity due to injury, the Steelers’ uncharacteristic wheeling-and-dealing nature this year was driven in part by the fact that they had been able to gain a surplus of selections by moving expendable talent.

That decision is being widely questioned in light of the fact that it comes amidst a season most on the outside are already viewing as a lost cause with Ben Roethlisberger already on injured reserve. However, the Steelers are clearly demonstrating that they remain committed to winning week in and week out, no matter the circumstances.

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