While the Pittsburgh Steelers may not be making a draft pick tonight—at least, it’s very unlikely that they do, since the only selection they hold in the top 100 picks is at 49, and they only have six picks in total—they will be engaged with the process as much as everybody else is, including simply for the purpose of seeing how everything works.
All 32 teams did participate in a draft simulation to test out the technological layers that have had to be added to the process this year to preserve social distancing guidelines, but that only gives team a preview for a real event that will be conducted in a way in which they have never engaged before.
Prior to the league announcing that all team facilities will be shut down even for the draft, the Steelers were among the teams who were still hoping that they could have a skeleton crew in their war room consisting of Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Art Rooney II. Of course those hopes were dashed, and so they have had to improvise.
Colbert was asked to explain how it would work for them on draft day during the team’s pre-draft press conference on Monday, and he did lay out some of the details about how all facets of the scouting and front office departments would remain in contact.
“We’ve been meeting about it, talking about it. We have our room set up for the Steelers—Coach Tomlin and myself, Art Rooney, and Omar Khan will be visible to each other, because Omar will be involved in the draft”, he said.
“Basically what we have available to us is as if we were sitting in the room together”, Colbert added. “All the coaches and scouts will have access to every conversation going on via different lines. But Coach and myself and Art, and then Omar if we get into trade talks, we can share a conversation as if we’re sitting there. We each have the draft room set up in our homes. And then we’ll work from that”.
Under normal circumstances, the Steelers could have close to a couple dozen front office executives, scouts, and coaches in their war room on draft day at any given time, where they gather several opinions on every prospect and stack their draft board.
All of that communication will have to be done virtually now, and in priority tiers. It’s more complicated and less efficient, but it’s really the only option that they have available to them when they are not allowed to be in the same building with one another. They can only hope that everything runs smoothly and doesn’t cause any mistakes when it comes time to draft a player or execute a trade.