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Steelers preparing for 2017 NFL Draft with a wait-and-see approach

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The Steelers aren’t in the position where they can simply go out and grab whatever prospect they want in the draft, but unlike other years, this draft is very unpredictable.

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

If you think back to the past few NFL Drafts, there is a stark difference between the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft and those which came before it.

What is the difference? This year there is no real No. 1 overall pick.

Think back to the years when a quarterback was guaranteed to go No. 1 overall, and most of the Top 10 was very predictable. Those were the days, because in this year’s draft there is confusion from No. 1 on down.

Sure, most agree the Cleveland Browns won’t mess up their first overall pick and take someone other than Myles Garrett, but when in past years the first two draft picks were already released, there has been smoke coming from Cleveland saying they might not take Garrett with their first draft pick.

For the sake of conversation, imagine what would happen if the Browns take someone like Mitch Trubisky instead of Garrett. It would throw off almost everyone’s draft boards, and completely alter the first round of the selection process. Athletes who were projected to go in the Top 10 could fall, and the cascade would continue from there.

However, it is that unpredictability of this draft which has teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, who select 30th in this year’s opening round, taking a wait-and-see approach to the process.

“It’s really an unpredictable draft; so many different variables that we see could happen around the league,” Colbert said at a predraft news conference with coach Mike Tomlin via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think it all starts with the quarterback position. We think there are so many different opinions on who the quarterbacks are and who is going to take who, where.

“Really, it doesn’t matter to us, I just think it leads into the unpredictability, because I think you are going to see more trade-up and trade-down possibilities, not so much with us, but around the league.”

This unpredictability also leads to the Steelers not being able to pin down just one position and take the best player at that respective position, not that they every did this anyways. Always following the Best Player Available (BPA) strategy, the Steelers will lean on that in 2017 again, but trying to decipher how a prospect will pan out in the NFL is always a challenge — especially at outside linebacker.

“Because where they are playing might not be, and most of the time, is not where we are going to ask them to play overall,” Colbert said. “They are probably going to have to grow to be outside linebackers.

“It’s a hit-and-miss. We have had some that didn’t work out and some that have worked out. I don’t know what the success rate will be. I just know it’s the most difficult. The quarterback position, we spend an inordinate amount of time on it because it’s such a critical position. The outside linebackers, you almost have to do double the work.”

At a time when fans everywhere want answers, the Steelers have none to give. Such is life at the back half of the draft. Fans will have to echo the organization, and take a wait-and-see approach to see just how things shake out in the upcoming selection process.