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Colbert Looking Forward To Having Conner, Smith-Schuster Back Healthy In 2020

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently only have six selections in the 2020 NFL Draft with only one of those coming in the first 100 overall picks. Will the team use two of those six selections on a wide receiver and a running back? We’ll get our answer to that question in less than a month from now but in the meantime, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Tuesday during a Steelers Nation Unite question and answer session with fans that he’s really looking forward to having wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner both back fully healthy in 2020 after both missed considerable playing time in 2019 due to injuries.

“Sure, we’re looking to always add more players and you know, at both running back and receiver, we’re looking to add a healthy James Conner and a healthy JuJu Smith -Schuster,” Colbert said. “Because when they’re both healthy, they’re both Pro Bowl-level players. And both suffered injuries last year that we hope they avoid this coming season. But in the meantime, it’s my job and our staff’s job to add proper competition and depth.”

The Steelers ultimately spending one of their six currently scheduled draft picks this year on a wide receiver wouldn’t be a big surprise. After all, the Steelers have selected at least one wide receiver in each of their last eight drafts and in 14 of their last 15. In short, it would really come as a shock if they didn’t draft another wide receiver this year.

As for the Steelers possibly drafting another running back this year, we’ll see. The team has selected one in each of their last three drafts with last year’s addition being Benny Snell Jr. in the fourth-round. One would think if Colbert and company were to draft yet another running back this year that such a selection would come in the second-round with the team’s 49th overall selection.

Colbert has talked quite a bit so far this offseason about the organization still having a lot of confidence in running back James Conner despite him already missing 11 full games in his first three seasons in the NFL due to injuries in addition to parts of a few others. Colbert also hinted during his combine press conference that he has confidence in the entire running back depth chart.

“Benny Snell had a nice season for us as a rookie,” Colbert said in Indianapolis, IN of the team’s 2019 fourth-round selection out of Kentucky. “James [Conner] had an unfortunate season. And what we tried to emphasize to James was this was this year. The previous year, you were one of the best in the league and we know you’re still a young ascending player and we want you to get back to where you were in 2018.

“The injuries happened. They were acute injuries that weren’t avoidable, and it happened. He has to work through it. And we’re confident in James because we know what he did in 2018, but we also are hopeful that he can find that again in 2020. But in the meantime, competition from a Benny Snell and a Jaylen Samuels should help that process.”

As expected, Colbert wouldn’t tip his hand as to which position the Steelers might be leaning toward or thinking they might have a shot at selecting in the second-round at No. 49 overall.

“We’re very confident that there’ll be somebody at a number of positions that will certainly improve our team and would be anxious to take,” Colbert said Tuesday.

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