Kevin Colbert and company have been in charge of the Steelers draft operations for so long now we can look back on the data and make some educated guess on what they will do with their first round pick. The front office rarely strays from their philosophies, and typically follow a similar path on a yearly basis. Below are some of the things we know about this player personnel group and stuff you can safely expect on Day 1 of the draft.
If Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert weren't at their Pro Day they’re (probably) not the pick
Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert’s presence at a prospect’s Pro Day is a big key to whether or not they’re interested in a player. It was more than 10 years ago since the Steelers first rounder came from a school where they weren't in person to work out. If someone falls that was previously thought to be drafted much earlier then the Steelers could call their name.
Power-5 prospects are priority
The last time the Steelers didn't draft someone from the most dominate college conferences was back in 2004 to draft Miami (OH) quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. They love guys with playing experience against the top competition in the world.
Underclassmen are more sought after than seniors
The younger the prospect the more impressionable, and that is something the Steelers value. Guys that leave college early are much more likely to become Pittsburgh Steelers.
Trading back is as rare as Halley’s Comet
The only time Kevin Colbert did this was in 2001 and they only moved back three spots. It just doesn't happen, and they also value the fifth year option so don’t expect a trade out of the first round completely.
The Steelers almost always take the best player on the board
The Steelers typically neglect taking players of positional need unless their value sits atop their draft board. The last time they panicked into drafting a position was when the Bengals jumped the Steelers and scooped up Williams Jackson III, to which the Steelers responded by drafting Artie Burns.
When in doubt they draft a linebacker
Devin Bush, T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier, and Lawrence Timmons represent all the first round linebackers the Steelers have drafted since they hired Mike Tomlin in 2007. This trend has picked up even more in recent years, and hard to ignore. With the losses of Bud Dupree and Vince Williams, I wouldn't be surprised if they jumped into this well once again.
But what do you think? Will the Steelers break any of these draft philosophies? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.