This NFL Draft season is unlike any other. In fact, it’s even more challenging than 2020. But Kevin Colbert is trying to keep the process as normal as possible. In a feature series on the team website entitled The Standard: Path to the Draft, Colbert discussed what the next two months leading up to the draft will look like.
“It will be different but we feel comfortable in being able to stay as close to the process that we do,” Colbert said. “We’ve just got to do it in a different manner and try to get the same information. Ultimately, we want to be able to do our jobs in whatever manner we can. Albeit sometimes a new manner.”
That new manner will apply to several different aspects of the scouting process. Most notably, the lack of a centralized NFL Combine. The Combine at Indianapolis was cancelled for the first time in its history. That event took place right before the pandemic began in America in 2020, making 2021 one reason why it’ll be even tougher to evaluate and draft. The NFL does plan to get players with serious medical concerns together to have a more centralized health evaluation. That’s one silver lining to this process.
But as Colbert’s talked about in the past and will surely mention again, it’s an even playing field. The Steelers are dealing with the same challenges as the rest of the league. Their consistency and stability among the scouting department, starting with Colbert himself whose been with the team since 2000, gives them a leg up in the process.
2021 will have benefits 2020 didn’t. There should be a more complete Pro Day circuit after most school workouts were cancelled last spring. Teams will be limited in the number of people they can have and Colbert’s admitted he won’t get to as many schools this year but any additional information will be valuable.
“The Pro Days will be the same thing,” Colbert said. “They will be subject to state laws, college rules, and then our own rules as dictated by the National Football League. They have mandated that we can only have three people attend any given Pro Day. And some of the schools may allow three, some may not. And we will adjust accordingly.”
The Pro Day circuit kicks off in full force in one week. We’ll be able to more closely track interest based on those visits, a tool we didn’t have at our disposal last season. This year will look different for obvious reasons but we’ll see if some history remains the same. The Steelers have personally attended the Pro Day of each one of their first round picks since 2010. The last player they selected who they didn’t go and see was Ziggy Hood in 2009.