When the Pittsburgh Steelers announce their opening selection of the 2019 NFL Draft in just over a week, it will be the 13th time the partnership of Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert has led the Steelers in this annual selection process. Dating back to 2007, the two men have chosen 98 prospects from 61 different colleges, taking a player every available position with the exception of kicker.
And while there is no consensus name mocked to the Steelers this year, with expert projections generally split between linebacker and cornerback, history teaches us that there are some positions that are more likely to be drafted others this year.
With the exception of 2008 and 2018, Tomlin and Colbert have taken at least one cornerback every year, making it their most drafted position so far with 14 selections overall. Another wide receiver is also a near certainty, with 2011 the only year the duo failed to pick one. James Washington became the 13th receiver chosen last year.
Taking another linebacker should also be a given, even if it did not happen in 2018. The only other time the pair did not select one was in 2009, with double-dipping at the position something of a regularity. A total of 19 linebackers have been drafted since 2007, split between 11 outside linebacker and eight inside linebackers.
Selecting an offensive tackle appears to have become a biennial event as of late, suggesting the Steelers should be in a off year in 2019 having taken Chukwuma Okorafor last year. Guards and centers rarely seem to get a look in these days, with just six in total ever having been chosen by Tomlin and Colbert, the last being David DeCastro in 2012.
Much like the drafting of offensive tackles, selecting a defensive tackle generally appears to occur every other year, with the upcoming draft an off year once again. However, it is perhaps worth noting that the 2018 pick of Joshua Frazier did not stick. Defensive end has barely figured since the Steelers took Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt in back-to-back seasons and that is unlikely to change this year.
Until recently, quarterback had rarely been on the Steelers radar, but it is assumed they have more than enough options at the position for now. A special teams players is also highly unlikely given their history, although someone did think it was a good idea to draft a long snapper just a few seasons ago, so maybe nothing should be discounted.
It has been a few years since Tomlin and Colbert took a tight end, but a lack of depth on the roster seems to indicate they might be forced to break that habit in 2019. A running back should be on the cards too if recent trends hold true. Once a position that saw a player picked annually, the arrival of Le’Veon Bell effectively put an end to that practice until it became clear he might not be staying in 2017. Nine running backs selected in 12 years makes it the fourth most drafted position by Tomlin and Colbert.
The full list of names selected by the Steelers since 2007: