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Kevin Colbert outlines the Steelers’ thoughts on trading down in the NFL draft

The Steelers GM outlined the scenario in which the Steelers would trade down in the 2021 NFL Draft.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

In the Steelers press conference Monday General Manager Kevin Colbert was asked about trading back, and if it is important to stay in the first round in such a scenario.

Hear what he had to say about this very subject in the video below:

The key part is at the end of that clip.

I never like to walk away from a pick without having — say if we’re trading back five spots, I want five players that we would be comfortable in taking so we can’t lose. That’s the way we’ve always approached that.

So, for the Steelers to be willing to trade back any number of spots, they need to have as many players on their list that they would be willing to take as spots they trade back.

That’s bad news for anyone thinking the Steelers could trade back into the middle, or late second round. In this scenario, the Steelers would need to be looking at their board and see close to 20 or more players left they would take with the 24th pick to be willing to trade back that far.

Even a trade back to the early second round would be tough to pull off. Say the Jacksonville Jaguars really want to make three picks on Thursday and offer to trade the Steelers the 33rd pick for the 24th. For Kevin Colbert’s requirement to be met, the Steelers would need to have 10 players left on their board that they would be willing to take with that 24th pick.

You can see why trading back in the NFL draft isn’t something the Steelers have done many times under Colbert. They are much more likely to trade up to grab a player they want compared to trading back hoping to still get a guy they want. With good draft depth at so many positions of need for the Steelers, trading back has been a popular idea among the fan base, especially in mock drafts. And while it may seem like a tall order to fill for a trade back in the first round, it isn’t out of the question. As Colbert said:

We’re always going to value quality over quantity, but if we’re not comfortable with what we’re looking at at the 24th pick, we’ll trade back. . . But trading back, I want to make sure that we can’t lose if we do it.

Now Steelers fans know the formula Colbert and the Steelers use to make that choice. Maybe we should require any mock draft with a trade back to provide their list of players that they would be willing to take to support their trade back.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.