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Thread: Steelers' Draft: Colbert knows who to tap in draft

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  1. #1
    Captcoolhand's Avatar
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    Steelers' Draft: Colbert knows who to tap in draft

    Ten years ago, Kevin Colbert approached his first NFL draft with the Steelers and Bill Parcells wanted their first-round choice for the New York Jets.
    It was Parcells, among the biggest names in the league, vs. the new guy in the new job with the eighth overall draft choice. Colbert was on the job only two months by the time of the draft, having replaced Tom Donahoe, who was dismissed as director of football operations after the 1999 season.
    Parcells pushed and pushed, Bill Cowher remembers. And the Jets had ammo with four first-round draft choices available.
    "I knew Parcells wanted him," Cowher said.
    "Him" was Plaxico Burress, a 6-foot-5 1/2 wide receiver at Michigan State who looked like every quarterback's dream. In order to get him, Parcells was offering a quarterback. Even after the Steelers resisted the Jets' trade invitations before they drafted, Parcells suggested a trade later that day that would send his first draft pick, quarterback Chad Pennington, and other considerations.
    Colbert and Cowher refused.
    "The value was unbelievably disproportionate," Cowher said. "I was born at night but not last night."

    Burress and Pennington have had their moments, good and bad. Burress has been by far the better player, sometimes spectacularly so with the Steelers and Giants, where he caught the winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLI. But he now is lodged in a jail cell in the middle of a two-year sentence on weapons charges. Pennington never fulfilled his promise, partly because he has been injured so often. The Jets released him after the 2007 season and now he must fight for his starting job with the Miami Dolphins.

    Ten years after that first-round intrigue, Colbert remains the Steelers' director of football operations and is preparing for this week's draft, which takes place Thursday through Saturday. He has more time and much more experience entering this draft than he did his first one. Yet, for all his inexperience in the job back then, the Steelers' draft 10 years ago stands the test of time as a good one. And Colbert gets rave reviews from others on the job he has done the past decade.
    "Petty amazing," said Cowher, who left as Steelers coach after the 2006 season. "He's done a great job. I think Kevin Colbert is one of the best at what he does.
    "Kevin's got great foresight for the future, he has a great feel for that, he's a great listener and has a great feel for the game. He has an objective viewpoint. He can see things clearly and cleanly and not be swayed. He's very objective when he looks at video. And he can make an assessment whether a player is in decline or has a number of years left. Those are qualities not everybody possesses."
    Others who have not worked with Colbert believe the same way as Cowher. Longtime NFL general manager Ernie Accorsi -- who held those jobs with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and old Baltimore Colts -- brought up Colbert's name while speaking on another topic at the past Super Bowl.
    "Your guy is one of the best in the business," Accorsi said, talking about Colbert.


    "They've won two Super Bowls with mostly the talent he acquired, and what he's done in the middle rounds has been exceptional."
    Among Colbert's successes in those rounds or later are Ike Taylor (fourth round), Brett Keisel (seventh), Larry Foote (fourth), Chris Kemoeatu (sixth) and Willie Colon (fourth), all Super Bowl starters. William Gay (fifth) became a starter last year. Free agent rookies Colbert has signed included Chris Hoke, James Harrison and Willie Parker.
    He has also never missed on a pick in the first round, never had a bust with the most valuable and costly choice in each draft. That cannot be said of any previous decade of the Steelers, dating back to when Chuck Noll arrived in 1969 (although they missed on only one in the 1970s, running back Greg Hawthorne).
    "Kevin has done a great job," said longtime NFL scout Tom Marino. "He's not the typical guy, he's an old-school general manager, not one of the new-type GMs who are all basically cap guys. He's a football guy. He has a scouting background, which really helps him."
    Colbert, a North Catholic High and Robert Morris College graduate, coached several sports in college briefly before going to work for the Blesto scouting combine for a year. He scouted college players for the Miami Dolphins for five years and served as the Detroit Lions pro scouting director for 10 before the Steelers hired him.
    He had to quickly become familiar with college talent in just two months after joining the Steelers.
    "He walked into a situation late and we were replacing a guy, Tom Donahoe, who had been with us for a long time, and just the year before we lost Tom Modrak," Cowher said, the latter having left as the Steelers college personnel coordinator to become general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles.
    "Kevin really did a good job being a good listener. A lot of the work was done, a lot of reports were in. He did a good job of trying to implement a board we all could understand. He didn't try to change the whole grading thing; it would have been too much to overhaul in a short time."
    Colbert and Cowher decided to travel together to player workouts in those two months, which served a dual purpose.
    "We were traveling together, getting to know each other," Cowher said. "It is so important for that guy to know what type of players we were looking for in the thirty-four defense and what our offensive philosophy was."
    Ten years ago this month, it all came together in Colbert's first draft. After resisting Parcells and the Jets, the Steelers selected Burress with the first pick. With their second, they chose Marvel Smith, their only Pro Bowl left tackle since the NFL-AFL merger. Their two third-round picks, defensive lineman Kendrick Clancy and cornerback Hank Poteat, never became regular starters with the Steelers but were still playing in the NFL in their 10th seasons. Fourth-round pick Danny Farmer was a quick washout at receiver, but fifth-rounder Clark Haggans became a starting outside linebacker.
    That's not a bad draft for anyone at any time, and it helped the Steelers turn the corner after two consecutive losing seasons heading into that draft. One season later, they reached their first of four AFC championship games of the decade.
    "That's an impressive group of players," said Rob Rang, senior analyst for "Marvel Smith and Clark Haggans are the two that jump out at me.
    "With Plaxico Burress' problems aside now, he was a spectacular player at times with the Steelers. To take him where they did and still address more traditional football concerns with the tackle and linebacker in the later rounds shows the depth of the Steelers' scouting and Colbert's in particular. We've seen the linebacker and offensive tackle positions rise in importance since 2000. He was able to find them back then."

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    Let's just hope he does it again this year also
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"

  2. #2
    Starter cmerrifield's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    yeah, lets hope for some great picks this year. Come on Colbert

  3. #3
    Starter SteelJunkie's Avatar
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    Colbert has done a pretty good job compared to other clubs. Can't wait til Thursday.

    James Harrison - "Right now, you know, some people may want to jump on the Steelers bandwagon.
    Don't do that. We don't need you. We didn't need you at the beginning, we don't need you now."

  4. #4
    Starter SteelCityKid5's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Central PA
    You can't say this guy doesn't know what hes doing. I'm just praying lighting strikes again come Thursday!

  5. #5
    Assistant Coach nuclearchihuahuas's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    I can't remember a really bad draft year so I do not know why we would worry about it now...I hope they find a Polamolu type for corner!

  6. #6
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    Penn State University
    Quote Originally Posted by nuclearchihuahuas View Post
    I can't remember a really bad draft year so I do not know why we would worry about it now...
    I sure as hell can....last year. Outside of Mike Wallace and possibly Joe Burnett, that draft was full of fail...I can't handle another draft like last year...I just can't do it...

  7. #7
    Starter kgreen's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Somewhere Between Canada and Mexico
    Quote Originally Posted by Big T View Post
    I sure as hell can....last year. Outside of Mike Wallace and possibly Joe Burnett, that draft was full of fail...I can't handle another draft like last year...I just can't do it...

    Haha that image is hilarious but you can't call a draft bad after one year. Wait another couple of years to evaluate it. Ziggy Hood will become more of a factor once this line really ages.

    "When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die."

  8. #8
    Banned K Train's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    In hell
    you can call a draft a bad draft after one minute. i dont need flashy or instant impact guys, thats not what me calling this past draft a fiasco....but i would like guys to have some potential to contribute down the line....something we got very little of last year.

    this article is bullshit, i call shenanigans....he has not been exceptional in mid-later rounds....i mean colon and keisel are nice players but for 1 success there is easily 7-8 fails in the mold of bruce davis, willie reid, cameron stephenson, frank summers, AQ shipley, ricardo coclough, trai essex....i could go on and on but they are better at UDFAs than they are in the 3rd round...which is sad

  9. #9
    Starter Steel Trap86's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
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    I want Pouncey at 18, he is a sick center. even if hartwig stays put for the 2010 season, pouncey can play left and right guard, essex would get challenged immediately. he has the awareness to improve the whole damn line, by 2011 we'd be a LOT better...especially if we stole his brother next year.
    Last edited by Steel Trap86; 04-19-2010 at 09:21 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    lets not forget the 2008 draft too .. besides mendenhall that was a complete waste to this point and if limas does not come through it will go down as awful imo simply because there were so many RB's in that draft that were good prospects at the time and many have come through huge

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