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2015 NFL Draft: If history is any judge, the Steelers won't trade out of the first round

The question about the Steelers trading out of the first round normally comes up whenever they're slated to draft near the bottom of round, like this year at 22. But Pittsburgh has picked a player in the first round every year since the 1960s.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

We're still nearly two months away from the annual NFL Draft that will commence on April 30. So, if Kevin Colbert, the Steelers gm, hasn't yet been posed with the question about trading out of the first round, give it time.

Seriously, doesn't Colbert answer this kind of question every year, or even volunteer this possibility without even being asked? And that's especially the case whenever Pittsburgh is slated to draft near the bottom of the first round, like this year at 22. For once, I'd like to see some reporter ask Colbert about the possibilities of mortgaging the future so the Steelers could trade up to the first overall spot and draft quarterback Jameis Winston. Of course it would be absurd, but it would be nice to see Colbert get a good chuckle out of it just to break up the monotony of the offseason.

Colbert's reasoning for the possibility of trading out of the first round and getting an extra second or third round pick is normally because  a) there are just so many good prospects in the draft, you could probably find first round talent in the second round or later and add much-needed depth. Or b) the high-end prospects are lacking, so why pay a second round talent first round money?

It's hard to say where this year's draft ranks in-terms of overall depth, but it's doubtful Pittsburgh will even entertain the possibility of trading out of the first round. For one thing, it's just not the organization's style. The Steelers haven't traded a first round pick away since the 1960s, when other teams would gladly take those picks and do things like draft Dick Butkus--which Chicago did in 1965, according to wikipedia. (The Bears drafted Gale Sayers with their fourth pick immediately after drafting Butkus with Pittsburgh's third pick.)

Secondly, as much as the Steelers need depth, they need Pro Bowl stars even more.

While Colbert, Cowher and later Tomlin were infusing the team with talent during the Super Bowl era of the previous decade, their results in the second round were a mixed bag (Alonzo Jackson, Ricardo Colcough, Bryant McFadden, LaMarr Woodley, Limas Sweed, etc.). You can probably pick out the good names from the bad, but, for the most part, the results were rather underwhelming.

However, Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller and Santonio Holmes, they were all home run hitters. And Plaxico Burress, Kendall Simmons, Lawrence Timmons and Rashard Mendenhall weren't too shabby, either. With the exceptions of Troy Edwards and possibly Ziggy Hood, it's hard to find many first round picks the Steelers didn't hit on over the past 15 years. (Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier are still question marks, of course). Most of the aforementioned first round picks made up the core of the team's two most recent Super Bowl victories. And in the case of Polamalu, Roethlisberger and even Holmes, it's hard to imagine Pittsburgh having more than four Super Bowls today without their crucial and transforming contributions.

So, while depth is nice (Pittsburgh could have used some at the running back position this past postseason), the first round is where teams normally find difference-makers.