Kevin Colbert got something off his chest at the Pittsburgh Steelers' pre-draft press conference this week, and it came off as odd for a guy who normally fares well with "elevator music," as his partner, Mike Tomlin, likes to say about worthless chatter.
"There’s so much misinformation," Colbert started, "and it’s really irresponsible on whoever puts information into the media. I think it’s really bad for our profession when people put whatever means they use to get information out to try to influence a draft and they talk about a kid’s test score, a kid’s injury, a kid’s character. I think that’s awful. I think it’s disrespectful to our profession. It’s disrespectful to the game. It’s disrespectful to the kid. I think it’s horrible. In knowing that we really don’t pay attention to it, we’re just going to be true to what we believe."
And then it struck me: Colbert's worried about the PR of a player he's going to draft.
It sounds like he's going to draft Marcus Peters.
They like him, and have him on their board. They need him. They certainly believe they can lean on him. He's a coach's son, after all.
But there's the ugly rumor that Peters was kicked off his team because "he tried to strangle a coach on the sideline."
At least that's what an anonymous scout told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journel-Sentinel last December. It's been credibly denied, but since I heard it I haven't been able to forget it.
That has to be what Colbert's talking about.
But I hope they draft Peters, and believe they will.
I sorted through Peters' trials and tribulations at the University of Washington in yesterday's edition, and in my opinion -- and I believe in the Steelers' opinion -- he's the kind of guy who'll survive, and likely thrive, in a stable organization with coaches who'll easily command his respect.
* Marcus Peters, CB, Washington -- Physical, press-man corner who has ball skills, can support the run, and plays with swagger. Put the ornery guys out on the flanks anyway. It's been my season-long contention that he's the best cornerback in the draft.
* Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia -- Opened as the favorite on my tote board but received zero public backing. My guess is that on draft day he'll receive little NFL support as well. Harold will be able to help the nickel front a bit.
* Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State -- Would be a great place to grab a nickel corner and put some real excitement into the Steelers' secondary, but they've left themselves with a gaping hole on the WR depth chart and it must be filled with quality. This polished route runner is that.
* Bobby McCain, CB, Memphis -- Well, hello Mr. Excitement. The Steelers haven't shown McCain (5-9 1/2, 195) any interest, of which I'm aware, but I really like him. He'll not only fit the slot, he'll return kickoffs. And interceptions. Of his 12 picks in college he returned four for scores. Yes, replace McCain with McCain.
SIXTH ROUND (COMP)
* A.J. Derby, TE, Arkansas -- The Steelers brought in several late-round tight ends, and not Derby. I just like this converted QB because he told me more about Heath Miller's move from QB to TE in college than Heath ever did. An athlete with upside.