The Pittsburgh Steelers know how to keep a secret but when it comes to the draft, they’re shockingly transparent. Perhaps that’s a product of Kevin Colbert being the Steelers’ GM for 22 years making it easier to read the tea leaves than a brand new decision-maker. Ask Colbert a question about the draft class and he’ll give a (relatively) honest answer. Each year, he offers up a brief outline of the strengths and weaknesses of the 2022 NFL Draft class.
Courtesy of Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola, here’s where Colbert thinks the draft is strongest and weakest.
Positions are strength are wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback, and EDGE.
Positions of weakness are interior offensive line, defensive tackle.
Of course, it’s impossible to make any definitive conclusions from that list. But if the Steelers are looking to upgrade their interior offensive line, and they should, they may do so either through free agency or early in the drat given the lack of depth in the draft. To hear Colbert tell it, the interior group isn’t as strong as last year where the team took Kendrick Green in the third round (though in hindsight, that doesn’t look like the best decision).
Defensive tackle has also been regarded as a weaker group though the Senior Bowl showed several prospects deserve longer looks. UConn’s Travis Jones and Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey are just two of those names.
Colbert highlighted the strength at receiver, tackle, corner, and edge. Receivers have commonly become a strong and deep class given all the high-flying college offenses these days. With JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud all set to hit free agency, Pittsburgh is nearly guaranteed to add receiver help this offseason. Perhaps the team will be less willing to take the free agency route and focus on the draft instead, where they’ve routinely churned out solid wide receiver prospects.
Offensive tackle is also a need if RT Chukwuma Okorafor, also a free agent, does not sign. Corner is in flux with Joe Haden and Ahkello Witherspoon in the last year of their contracts while EDGE depth isn’t great behind starters Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt.
These comments are just something to file away as free agency and the draft nears. And it’s one of the many “Blue’s Clues” to look for in the pre-draft process. When it comes to the Steelers’ first round pick, the biggest thing to look for is where Tomlin and Colbert travel during Pro Days. They’ve attended the Pro Day of every first round selection since at least 2010.