NFL.com Around the League writer Chris Wesseling buried an interesting bit in a recent report about the Cowboys being ready to select Ryan Shazier at 16 if he was available. The Steelers drafted him instead, and according to Wesseling, Pittsburgh would have gone a different direction if two other players had been available.
The Steelers, on the other hand, had planned to select cornerback Justin Gilbert (No. 8, Browns) or LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham (No. 12, Giants). Once those players were gone, general manager Kevin Colbert said it was "an easy evaluation" to switch gears and grab the best player on their board.
It's not entirely clear where Wesseling is getting that information. Certainly, arguments can be made - and have been made, to the point of vertigo-induction - that Gilbert, the athletic corner from Oklahoma State and Beckham, the versatile receiver from LSU, merited a selection with the 15th pick. Gilbert went to Cleveland at eight and Beckham to the Giants at 12.
If the plan was, all along, to take one of those two players, it would have confirmed the consensus opinion of fans that the Steelers would go with one of those positions in the first round.
Then again, it could be one of the outlets that reports such things frequently passing off fiction as fact.
We might be able to put this in the "things we'll never know" file, and it'd be hard to argue with the Steelers' decision. It doesn't seem reasonable to believe the Steelers really considered Shazier the best prospect in the draft anyway.
Just another log on the ever-interesting but rare glimpse behind the door on the Bill Nunn Room.