Speed's fine, 'as long as they can play,' says Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Getting the Steelers' crop of speedy draft picks on the field when their ability matches their speed is the key to this draft. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is more interested to see them develop, not just run.

Kevin Colbert felt the need for speed. But only if the speed can work itself on the field.

The Steelers general manager appeared on the Mark Kaboly Show Tuesday, speaking exclusively with the Tribune Review reporter. Amazingly, the topic of the Steelers recent haul from the 2014 NFL Draft came up. Speed was the general addition to the team, having selected the fastest linebacker in the draft (Ryan Shazier) and the fastest player at the draft and possibly in the NFL, Dri Archer.

Kaboly asked Colbert whether speed was a priority in the draft.

"As long as they can play. Where we picked those guys, we felt that they can not only run fast, but they are good players. Ryan Shazier was a highly productive linebacker on a really good team. Dri Archer‘s speed is unique, but that is only part of his ability. He was also highly productive, not only as a runner, but as a kick returner and potentially a punt returner. Martavis (Bryant) not only runs fast but he had a ton of plays down the field with a big play offense that featured the best receiver in the draft in Sammy Watkins."

Each player the Steelers selected, and nine in total, have a unique trait about them that makes him stand out. Shazier is extremely fast for a linebacker, second-round pick Stephon Tuitt can play two positions probably early in his career, Archer is faster than all but a handful of creatures on two feet and Bryant is 6-foot-4 while running at a blazing pace.

But, as Colbert points out, the real question is whether they can play the game.

Shazier is among the highest Ohio State linebackers drafted, and many of them have failed to live up to their collegiate success. Already tabbed a starter, he'll get the chance to prove that theory as false. Tuitt had a lackluster final season at Notre Dame, something he said was due to his lack of ability to condition properly due to injury before the year. Archer has to live in the looming shadow of former Steelers bust Chris Rainey - an equally small and fast running back who provided little offensive value - and Bryant not only has the unfair but present Sweed Stigma, he's not nearly as accomplished of a route-runner as many of his peers.

Still, that speed kills.

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