Colbert Continues with Odd Draft Preparations

Calls Ebron a 'premier receiving tight end'

Jeff Hathhorn
March 31, 2020 - 7:57 pm
Kevin Colbert headshot

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – Steelers GM Kevin Colbert says they will start video interviews on Thursday and that’s just part of the most unusual draft preparation in NFL history.

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Colbert, his staff and coaches normally would be holding in-person interviews, attending pro days (they got to one, Clemson’s before the rest were cancelled) and gathering together for hundreds of hours to prepare for the start of the NFL Draft on April 23rd.  None of that is happening during this global pandemic.

He says it’s most important that his staff practices social distancing and stays safe, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t preparing.  Colbert and his team are linked with video conferencing, along with emails, texts and the good, old-fashioned phone.

And there are no excuses as Colbert reminded they didn’t have a lot of bells and whistles in the 70s, when they built the Steelers dynasty.  And he took a picture of the class of 1974, which featured five Hall of Famers, to show them.

“There were no pro days,” Colbert said.  “There was no extensive interview.  There was no combine.  They just draft what they thought were the best football players.”

That draft had a first round pick, the 2020 Draft does not as the team traded it to the Dolphins for All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.  Colbert said unlikely they could put a package together to move back up to the first round.

“I feel good about what we can get in the second round and beyond,” Colbert said denoting what he believes is good depth throughout the draft.

In his 20th year with the Steelers, Colbert said they are tight against the cap and in a holding pattern right now.  They’ve signed five players from the XFL and have their eyes on a couple of others.

Colbert believes newly acquired defensive lineman Chris Wormley (came from Ravens in a trade) will work as a defensive end, not as a nose tackle.

And he was excited about his most expensive free agent signee.

“He’s a super pass-catching tight end,” Colbert said of Eric Ebron, who got two years, twelve million dollars.  “There's athleticism, red-zone production and run after-the-catch.  He's really a premier receiving tight end when he is healthy.  He gives us another weapon in the passing game, for sure."

NFL set out more guidelines on Tuesday as teams can have up to 10 staff members in their draft room on draft day, as long as they are six feet away.  However, their facilities remained closed for the time being.

Maybe the draft will be the start of doors opening and not just for college football players.

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