When the 2013 NFL Draft begins Thursday night, all eyes around Pittsburgh will be on Pittsburgh Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert.
Colbert has been busy on draft day before and has shown that he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on deals to move up in the draft as he did so to move up and get wide receiver Santonio Holmes and safety Troy Polamalu.
That’s not going to happen this year. You won’t see the Steelers on the clock before pick No. 17, but could it even be later than that?
After an offseason in which they have already lost five starters and likely will lose two more before it is all said and done, the Steelers will need every one of their eight draft choices to help replace those players. They simply can’t afford to part with draft choices to move up in the draft, but this scenario screams for the Steelers to potentially move down in the draft in an attempt to acquire more draft picks.
As I see it, that is a real possibility if three players are off the board when they come up at No. 17.
The most obvious of those is Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones.
If Jones is available at No. 17 then he’s a no-brainer. The Steeler stay where they are and it shouldn’t take too long for them to turn in their card announcing Jones as the next Steeler.
But it’s not a given that Jones will be available as the New York Jets could select him at No. 13 and the New Orleans Saints could pounce on him at No. 15.
If that’s the case it’s on to Plan B which is Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert.
Eifert may not be the conventional pick for the Steelers given the fact they have a ton of immediate holes to fill, but they need to get Ben Roethlisberger some weapons and Eifert is certainly that. He’s a guy that creates matchup problems and a player that can be on the field every play. If Jones is gone, I have no problem with the Steelers selecting Eifert.
The problem is that he may not be around either.
Eifert could go anywhere from No. 6 to the Cleveland Browns, No. 12 to the Miami Dolphins or to one of the New York Jets two first-round selections. Eifert is also a guy that teams could trade up to get, which means both Jones and Eifert could be off the board when the Steelers select at No. 17.
If that’s the case then it’s on to Plan C and that’s Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Personally I’m not that high on Patterson and would be more comfortable targeting Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins or USC’s Robert Woods in the second round, but the Steelers have been linked to Patterson and the feeling is that they will pull the trigger if he’s available.
But there’s a chance that he could go to the St. Louis Rams at No. 16 or some team could move up to get him.
If that’s the case and all three guys are gone, then a trade makes sense.
The fallback option would be Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, but he could also be taken by the time the Steelers are on the clock.
Instead of reaching for a player at No. 17 it would make sense for Colbert to move down and secure more picks that could be put to good use and add depth to the current team.
So if you plan on tuning in right at the time when the Steelers are to pick at No. 17, don’t be surprised if they aren’t the team that’s on the clock.