PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers sensed months in the past they’d be out there for a quarterback for the primary time in a technology.
So normal supervisor Kevin Colbert and the staff’s scouting employees fanned out throughout the nation final fall and over the winter, watching a few of the finest collegiate gamers on the place in particular person as many instances as attainable, then bringing seven of them to Pittsburgh for yet one more spherical of vetting within the run-up to this week’s draft.
While Colbert stays as poker-faced as ever by way of the place the Steelers may be leaning with the twentieth general decide on Thursday evening — that’s, if Pittsburgh stays put — he and coach Mike Tomlin readily admit they’ve given the group that features Liberty’s Malik Willis and Pitt star Kenny Pickett as “comprehensive” a glance as attainable.
That means extra than simply taking a look at tape or giving them the attention check. It means participating with them on a private stage on a number of events to get a really feel for which of them have the issues that do not present up on recreation tape whereas enjoying what Colbert referred to as essentially the most “critical” place within the sport.
Any participant taken within the first spherical faces an added layer of strain that prospects taken in a while don’t. That strain is multiplied by a number of components when the decide occurs to be a quarterback. If the Steelers do resolve to make use of twentieth choice on a quarterback for the primary time since taking Ben Roethlisberger with the eleventh alternative in 2004, all of the rookie has to do is come to a brand new place, be taught a brand new system in a matter of months then beat out Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph for the fitting to interchange a future Hall of Famer.
Oh, they usually’ll doubtless need to win nearly instantly at a spot that hasn’t endured a shedding season since 2003.
No strain or something. No surprise the Steelers used practically 1 / 4 of the 30 pre-draft visits they’re allowed on quarterbacks, conferences the place they did not ask them to throw a 20-yard out however as an alternative picked their respective brains on their thought course of.
“Some of (the factors) are not football-related, but personality-related,” Tomlin mentioned. “Some people are introverted, extroverted and (media attention) are draining for them, etc. And so for us, it was, yes, getting to know them as players. But just as significant a component of it … was getting to know them as young people as well.”
Colbert, who will retire someday after the draft, feels good concerning the monitor the group is on. The Steelers re-signed security Terrell Edmunds to a one-year deal on Monday, a transfer meaning on paper they’ve not less than one veteran starter in any respect 22 positions.
That consists of at quarterback. Pittsburgh introduced Trubisky — the No. 2 general decide by Chicago in 2017 who spent final season because the backup to Josh Allen in Buffalo — in on a two-year deal in free company. Dwayne Haskins’ tragic demise on a Florida freeway earlier this month leaves Rudolph as the one quarterback on the roster with any expertise with offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The group participated in a memorial service for Haskins final Friday, and Tomlin declined to delve into any impression Haskins’ passing might need on the enterprise of soccer.
While Colbert mentioned the staff may roll with simply two quarterbacks, simple arithmetic signifies not less than one and sure two extra will should be drafted or signed earlier than organized staff actions start.
Tomlin likened Pittsburgh’s uncertainty at quarterback this season to the place it stood on the similar time final 12 months with regard to operating again. The Steelers drafted Najee Harris within the first spherical and he set a franchise rookie file for yards dashing throughout an often dazzling first season.
Now, the stakes are significantly greater to maybe discover somebody who can excel at what Tomlin referred to as “the ultimate competitor’s position.”
“Those that run to and not from competition, those that embrace competition and the intensity of it and the anxiety may be associated with it. I think they have a leg up,” he mentioned.
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