Tomlin Colbert Assess Steelers Draft

Failure to draft inside linebacker could be an issue

Jim Colony
April 28, 2018 - 8:29 pm
Mike Tomlin

USA Today Sports

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We’d heard from Steelers GM Kevin Colbert and Coach Mike Tomlin after they drafted safety Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the draft so yesterday they gave their assessment of the other 6 draftees.

Here are Colbert’s tumbnails.

James Washington – a mature senior WR, not the biggest, not the fastest, but as good a deep receiver as played college football this year.  He can play outside, we think he can play inside and may have capability as a returner.”

Mason Rudolph - “When he was available at tat point in the 3rd round, it was a very easy decision to choose him.” Colbert wouldn’t say that they had Rudolph with a first round grade, but did allow that they had him rated with the other top QBs.

Tackle Chukwuma Okorafor - “Chukes has as much upside as anyone in the draft” pointing out how others like Al Villanueva and Chris Hubbard improved under Mike Munchak

Penn State Safety Marcus Allen – “Much like Mason (Rudolph) when he was available in the 5th round he was clearly the highest rated guy we had at that point.”

NC State RB Jaylen Samuels – “A little bit of a ‘do everything’ running back; he lined up as a fullback, a running backm, an H back, a tight end; we found his versatility attractive at that point

Alabama DL Joshua Frazier – “Played in a rotation (with other draft picks) and they have underclassman that are very good players; he worked with (DL) Coach Dunbar down there so we have familiarity with him.”

Colbert and Tomlin also addressed the issue of not drafting an inside linebacker.  Colbert said they didn’t want to reach, giving a boost to the LBs already in house, plus free agent signee Jon Bostic.  “Jon started 14 games and was highly productive last season; we’re excited about him,” Colbert explained. “Tyler Matakevich was hurt the same quarter Ryan (Shazier) was injured so we’ve never really seen him play.”

This brought up the concept of safeties playing the linebacker position in certain situations. “When you get into sub package and situational football those lines (between safety and linebacker) bleed together,” Tomlin said in what will be an ongoing discussion through off-season workouts, training camp, the pre-season and probably beyond.