Something Kevin Colbert said the other day about the draft made perfect sense yet was so out of character that a skeptic might consider it disinformation. The Steelers general manager rarely shares his insight about plans in the draft. He refuses to mention draft prospects by name much less analyze them in public. Every year, he declares a willingness to trade up or down in the first round without providing details. Monday, he careened from that script. Without prompting, Colbert pretty much nixed the idea of trading to move higher than No. 17 in the first round. "I doubt that we move up," Colbert said. "I think the more picks we have the better, in this draft particularly." It makes sense because, scouts, analysts and general managers such as Colbert believe this draft is deep but not top-heavy, and that many teams would love to get out of the top 10 or 15, not join that group. But it's not Colbert's nature to tell the world he won't move up, not unless he wants someone to think he won't, like those in his position in New Orleans. The Saints have the 15th pick in the first round. They are switching to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Rob Ryan, and they need outside linebackers. The perfect fit is Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. Thing is, Jones also fits the Steelers perfectly. Other prospects would look good in a Steelers uniform this year such as Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert or Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. None would look quite as sharp as Jones. The Steelers have a desperate need for linebackers, inside and out, but more so on the outside. LaMarr Woodley returns after two injury-riddled seasons. Jason Worilds will try to replace James Harrison after three years as a backup and in the final year of his contract. There is little depth. No position has been more productive and decorated on the Steelers defense than the outside linebackers since the move to the 3-4 base in 1982. They have been plentiful as well. But they've vanished, and there's now more competition for those types of linebackers because 14 NFL teams play the 3-4 defense, which the Steelers nearly had for themselves in the 1990s and the early part of this century. Those outside linebackers used to be found in the middle rounds. Jones also is not one of those undersized defensive ends who would need a year or two apprenticeship to adjust to playing linebacker in the 3-4. He comes outside linebacker ready because that's where he played and that's where he dominated at Georgia. That he ran such surprisingly slow times at his pro day -- in the 4.9-second range -- might be the best thing to happen for the Steelers because he could have been a top-10 pick had he run faster. "If I even get to 17, I don't think I get past the Steelers," Jones told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. "I mean, from what I've been told, I don't think I get past the Steelers."
NFL draft day: What will the Steelers do?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Apr 25