PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers right now have the 28th pick in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, and if their pre-draft news conference revealed anything, it’s that nothing is predictable about draft night.
The Steelers said that every position is on the table to draft. They also said they’re willing to trade up, trade down or stay right where they are.
Over the course of the offseason, the Steelers met with more than 150 potential draftees, and they’re prepared to take the best player available.
Many think the Steelers will go with an inside linebacker because of the injury to Ryan Shazier.
Coach Mike Tomlin said, “What we've talked about, and I think it's the appropriate discussion is: We're going to take the best player, whether it's inside linebacker or corner or safety or offensive lineman. And we have enough flexibility in terms of what we do to lean on the skill sets of the player we acquire.”
One thing the Steelers don’t plan to do is reach for a player earlier than they should.
“When you pass up a highly rated player to take a player rated significantly lower, you'll end up regretting it. I've seen it happen. I've been part of it in the past,” said general manager Kevin Colbert.
So what about the talk of the team taking a quarterback? Ben Roethlisberger stated that he intends to play a few more seasons, but that doesn’t mean QB is off the table.
Colbert said, “Our job is not only to win a championship in '18, it's to secure this franchise's ability to do this in the future. And you have to have a great player at the quarterback position, in our eyes, to have the best chance to win a championship.”
Colbert also elaborated on the process regarding trading up or trading down on draft day, saying “We've traded up in the past. We've traded down. We're open to both. Once this thing starts, one pick and one trade can change everything, and then it's adjust and be ready, and we'll be ready. We'll have 28 guys. We'll know how we'll pick them and we'll know at what point we want to go up and at what point we'll say, 'No we'll go down because we can get player 28 at the 32nd pick.'”
In other Steelers notes from the news conference, the team exercised the option year for linebacker Bud Dupree. The team had no comment on the contract talks with Le’Veon Bell. Colbert said the draft is top of mind right now, and they’ll start looking at those talks again after the draft is over.
The NFL draft begins Thursday night.
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