Colbert-Tomlin pre-draft press conference

Director of football operations Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin held their first pre-draft news conference Monday. Here's what they had to say about this weekend's NFL draft as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Opening Statement:

Kevin Colbert: That's a lot of tape recorders for the limited amount of information. I'd like to start off by thanking Mike and the coaching staff for the time that they've put in to this draft. Coming in brand new, they've got a lot on their mind, both from a personal standpoint, relocating families and getting situated; and then from a professional standpoint, they're concerned with the on-field product, as they should be. They did everything that we asked them to do and we've been very appreciative of their efforts because as you know, it's a team collective effort.

We're probably 90 percent of the way through the evaluations. We've finished all of our meetings on the positions themselves. For the rest of the week, we'll do some special, more concise meetings early in the week to tie up some loose ends on character and medical issues. Later in the week, we'll get into the mock drafts as we always do with the Rooneys and the entire coaching and scouting staff at the end.

We're picking number 15 as everybody knows. As we always do, we'll call all the teams as far as trading up or trading down. It's less likely that we're going to go up. It's very expensive to get up into that top echelon. Trading down could be an option for us. We already have nine draft picks because we picked up an extra fourth and fifth as compensatory picks. This is probably a good draft where more picks midway through is probably a good thing because there are good players available in those three, four-round areas. That could be interesting to us.

The draft itself, it's like anything else, it has its strengths, its weaknesses. The offensive line is probably an average area. The receivers are as deep as I've ever seen them with some special players in that group. I think you can go well into the second day and you're still going to come away with a quality receiver. The tight ends are a little lighter, but I think that's becoming more of a trend because of the spread offenses, there are less fullbacks and less tight ends playing. The quarterbacks are a decent group, nothing special. Running backs are the same way. There are a couple of good guys and then there are some guys who are going to make teams and be contributors. Defensively, I think it's good at all levels. I think that's something that's interesting to us because we could use help at any level of our defense, not necessarily starting, but if we can add depth at any level of our defense, we'll be helping our team.

If you look back at our draft history, at least since I've been involved with it, we've always alternated offense and defense until the last three years, we've been straight offense. That doesn't mean we'll take a defensive player this year, but we got a little older on defense from a depth standing than you'd like to be. I think the only two positions you could  eliminate for us in the first round would be a quarterback or a tight end. I think anything other than that, we'll be wide open and we're excited. This is a new era and it's an exciting time and we're ready to get going.

Coach Tomlin, you mentioned coming in that you were looking for good football coaches who were also good character men. Because of everything that has gone on this offseason, how much more does character of a player play into everything?

MT: For me personally, it's no more of an emphasis this year than it has been in the past. I think that things that happen outside the white lines manifest themselves inside the white lines. It's become more of an issue for the league as a whole and the commissioner has been deliberate about his stance and the stance we're all going to take on that. It is an issue. It's part of the evaluation process. It's part of a player's profile, as it should be.

Kevin, would you considering trading Alan Faneca and have you had any talks?

KC: We'll touch base with every team. We never get into a specific name. Most teams don't. Unless they've come out publicly and said that. You never mention a player's name unless you're sure that player is not going to be with you because if his name gets out in trade talks and you don't trade him, now you've got a problem on your hands. Everybody is very general. They may say, ‘We've got an extra offensive lineman on our hands, or we have an extra wideout or DB.' We're very vague or general in those discussions as well.

Kevin, there's been a lot of talk that coach won't have as much say-so if you come to a stalemate. How will that work?

KC: We've been meeting with the coaches since April 2, so it's been a long process. We've had discussions, we've had disagreements, as we always do. We always come to one conclusion, one way or another. It's a collaboration of not only coach Tomlin and myself, but all of the scouts and assistants. The two of us really sit in there and try to monitor it and have good discussions based on similarities or differences.

Is trading a player for a pick or a pick for a player a possibility for you?

KC: Sure. We're open to anything. You never say never on any given situation. If you say you wouldn't do it and all of a sudden someone proposes something crazy, they you've got to consider it.

It's kind of tough with the salary cap, though, isn't it?

KC: Yes. If you trade one of your players, the acceleration would come in the given year that you trade.

Kevin, how does the second day change from the first day?

KC: It really doesn't. Obviously the players you're picking on the second day, if you have them evaluated correctly, aren't going to be as good as the ones you hopefully took on the first day. As we all know, that's not always the case. Tom Brady and Willie Parker come to mind right away. Usually you're drafting more depth on the second day. Or you're possibly considering guys that might not make your team, but he might be a practice guy who four weeks, eight weeks into the season, he might be ready to play and make your active roster. You also have less time.

Are you more apt to take chances on the second day?

KC: I wouldn't say that. I think we're very consistent. On the first day, we're ready to pick as soon as our turn comes up. We've talked about it as it approaches. We'll have four or five options at every pick and if one goes, we'll got right to the next pick. It will be discussed. The only reason you wait is because you're waiting for a team to maybe call and offer you something as a trade down like we did with Casey Hampton. We wanted Casey where we were picking. But someone offered us a trade down and we felt like we had a good chance of still getting him. That's why we hold the pick.

The second day you have five minutes, right?

KC: Yes.

How crazy does it get?

KC: The trades are probably less complicated, but you have less time to complete them. You make a call, you agree. One team calls the league and you agree who's going to call the league. The league will approve it and it's done and you have to follow up with paperwork after that. But no paperwork has to be exchanged before the league will approve it.

With the 15th pick, you already know who you want to select at this point, but you'll wait just in case the phone rings?

KC: Right. We're going to have 15 guys that we agree that we would take with that pick. We're not going to lose in the first round. We're going to have a player. We'll have 15 and there will only be 15 picks, so we're going to take one of them. It's just a matter that of those 15, there might only be four of them available when we pick. So we'll have to see what four or three or two are available.

When you draft that guy at 15, do you leave the quarterbacks and tight ends out of it?

KC: No, obviously there are quarterbacks that are going to be above that. You know those guys, chances are very good they're going to go. So you have to have 15 players you would take. They might not necessarily be the top 15 because of positions like I mentioned.

Do you do that throughout the course of the day and reload four or five players at each pick?

KC: Yeah, we want to have options. We don't want to be locked in to this guy. We want to have options. Say you've got a group of players and the top-rated guy is a quarterback and the bottom-rated guy is a corner. But if they're rated close, you're going to take the corner because the need does factor in. The mistake that will be made is if you need something and you wait until the next round to take them and you left a better player on the board. In the end, that will catch up to you.

Coach, as an assistant in the past, how different did you approach the draft from what you're doing now?

MT: Really, I received great advice as a young coach so I approached it the same way then as I do now. As a position coach, I studied everybody in the draft. We had an open-door policy down in Tampa in terms of the coaches being able to be a part of the process whether your position was being discussed or not. I took advantage of that. I'm a personnel enthusiast by nature. I think if you want to be in this business, you'd better have an interest in personnel. Mentally, I've been through the process before. Not officially, but it's something I've done in the past.

How many players and draft picks would you like to add to your roster?

MT: We'll determine that. That's what part of last week was about, getting a sense of the guys we have here and seeing if they are viable guys and how we feel about them and adding to those guys or making changes if necessary as we move forward in the draft. Those are some of the things we're going to talk about this week as we move forward and continue to stack the board, particularly as we get into the second day and free agent guys and how they stack up against the guys we have here.

How many guys on your roster?

KC: Seventy four.

The max once you start signing guys is 80?

KC: We can have 84 because we have four exemptions for guys in Europe.

But it doesn't count when you draft them, it counts when you sign them?

KC: Yes.

So if these guys aren't signed, you could have as many as 100 guys for your mini-camp.

KC: It doesn't count in the NFL's eyes, but Mr. (Dan) Rooney and Art (Rooney), they keep a limit right where they want it to be and it will be 84.

That's 10, so you're going to have to throw guys out if you have 15 rookies?

KC: As coach said, there might be better players available as we go through the draft than what we have on that 74. Coach will make the determination of who he wants to bring back for the second mini-camp or training camp. Some of the kids who may be available to us may be an upgrade and we would adjust accordingly.

In that regard, how would you characterize the value of the past weekend?

MT: What it does do is give you a sense of skill set, what somebody is capable of doing physically from a body control standpoint and physically. It's not football because it's in shorts, so I don't want to put too much value on it. But it is valuable in seeing what someone is perhaps capable of being in terms of playing the game. Coach, there's a player in the same building here, Darrell Revis, who a lot of people think might go in the first round.

What are some things you look and say this guy can play?

MT: The thing that's interesting to me is that he's a power-transition guy. He's a power player. You like guys that play like that, strong. He's got a nice body, a nice combination of size and speed. And he's a young guy, he's a true junior. You would imagine that there's a lot of football in front of him. He seems to have his head on straight, he's a sharp young man. He has a lot of things that are attractive about him.

Would he be someone you guys might be interested in?

MT: He'd be somebody that I'd be interested in. Sure. He's definitely a viable guy. I don't think his name is too far down on any of the 32 boards.

What about the kid from Penn State, (Paul) Posluszny?

KC: No, you got your one. Obviously there are good guys next door. There are good guys at Penn State. There are good guys at West Virginia. Everybody knows who they are. Believe me, they're all in consideration at various levels for us. We're very fortunate that we're surrounded by some good schools that are within a four-hour radius. You've got Ohio State, West Virginia and Pitt and Penn State. We have to pay special attention to those guys. If we don't know about those players, we're not doing our jobs. It's a lot easier to keep up with where they are, especially the kids next door.

When you think about Marques Colston, does it make you pay more attention to the so- called sleepers?

KC: No. Those things are going to happen. We're going to miss. You can't evaluate out of fear that you're going to miss somebody. You have to stay true to what you believe is the right way to do it. You don't accept somebody slipping through because obviously he was a much better player than any of us gave him credit for. It's going to happen. We're not happy about it and we're always going to go back and look at the mistakes we had and why did we make those mistakes. We'll be critical about why we missed him. It's the same as when you draft a player high and he doesn't work out. It's not the player's fault, it's our fault. If he didn't live up to the pick, that's our fault for overevaluating him. We don't change if we believe in what we're doing, we stay true to it.

Do you draft players to fit a defense or draft the player and worry about the style later?

KC: I'll answer first and then I'll let coach. In a given system that we've had here for so many years, it was you knew a certain type of player fit better than another. But you don't want to lock him into a specific need. I know coach will answer it this way and I don't want to take words out of his mouth, but he says talent defies scheme and if you lock yourself in and say he can't help us, then maybe we'll make a mistake.

MT: That is exactly what I was going to say, talent does defy scheme. The great ones will play regardless of what the specific plays are. And really, in today's NFL, the lines are getting somewhat blurry. Specifically, if you're talking about 3-4 versus 4-3, the issue, in my opinion, is two-gap front or one-gap front. There are some 3-4 teams that are one- gap fronts. There's some 3-4 teams that are two-gap fronts. The 3-4 teams that are one- gap fronts play very similar to a 4-3. It's becoming gray. Football players are football players. Guys who can make plays, make plays.

You've been involved in this before, but as you get closer to your first draft, are you getting nervous or anxious?

MT: I do. But I like that feeling. I've gotten that feeling about a lot of things in the past few months. The draft is one of them. It's exciting and you love those challenges and look forward to them personally.

Everybody goes to the combine, but can you talk about how you choose which pro days you go to personally?

KC: Usually, what we try to do is be very selective in the spring only because there's time constrains. For the most part we're going to zero in on players that didn't work out at the combine and make sure we get the same live evaluation that we saw in Indianapolis. Beyond that, you fill in some dates because, quite honestly, we were traveling in style. The coach comes in handy, but that's a whole different story. We were out and if there were other workouts available, we were going to stay out for an extra look. The more evaluations you can get, the better. If we can be out every day in the spring, I'd go to all of them or take coach to all of them. It's too hard, so you try to map out a productive trip and if there's some time to fill in, we'll do that. And we did that this spring.

MT: What Kevin is referring to is if he takes me with him, he gets to fly in a private jet and doesn't have to fly commercial. We had a good week getting around. Every step along the way in terms of that draft, are just pieces of the puzzle. The reality is you go to a personal workout because there are some questions that need to be answered along the way, or you want to dig deeper into things that maybe you missed along the way. It all works together. It's about information gathering as you lead up to next weekend.

What about you going to the Florida State pro day together? Do you do that a lot?

MT: For me personally, it's about being in Tampa so long, I'd been to about the past six of them in a row. It'd become normalcy to me, similar to you guys going to Pitt or something like that. That was my mentality for it. They have a quality program and they are going to have good guys coming out every year.

KC: Plus, if I remember that week, Arkansas was working out that Tuesday and they had a player, Jamal Anderson, who hadn't worked out. And Michigan was working out on Friday and Lamar Woodley hadn't worked out. There was time in between, so we said let's go out and get extra looks. We could do it, so logistically we decided  to take advantage of it. That really was the case.

What are the differences between Kevin and his staff and other places you've been?

MT: Probably very similar to some situations that I've been in in terms of the process. One of the things that I'm appreciating about what we do here is the communication, the commitment to staying in the room and talking about issues when differences of opinions occur. The decisions we make next weekend are going to be Pittsburgh Steelers' decisions, so it requires communication as we continue to massage situations until we feel comfortable with them.

Why do good players drop into the second round and does that make your second-round pick equally important?

KC: I don't think that's gotten any different in recent years. I don't think this draft is necessarily top-heavy. It's interesting to me that late second, early third, early fourth, there are good players that we're going to have access to. I think every year it's just different. You might see trends, there are less tight ends and less fullbacks because of the spread offenses. Consequently, on defense, you see more corners because they have to cover all of these guys. It's just a trend in college football that we have to adjust to because it lends to different blocking and different techniques defensively because of the different blocking. We have to see through that to see if these guys can play the type of game that we play. I don't think there's any trend other than that that we're seeing as far as any round.

Where do you see the tiers being this year? There's always the group of elite players at the top and then a next level of very good players who aren't quite elite. Where is that this year?

KC: I think the one thing is the elite players this year are offensive guys. That's unusual, very unusual. For the most part, there are obviously a couple of defensive guys, but nothing like it usually is. I think that trend is a little different this year. We feel good about where we are at 15, but this isn't a bad year to be a little bit lower too. There's a lot of good players that are going to be available. We're excited. We wish we had more than nine picks, to be honest with you. I think we could really help ourselves.

Verron Haynes, how's he doing and are you still considering re-signing him?

KC: We terminated Verron and that was for salary cap issues that was actually to his benefit. He is actually here working with (trainer) John Norwig and our training staff and his goal is to be available for training camp. Coach told him and we reaffirmed that if he comes back healthy, we want him on this team because Verron is a big part of what we do. As far as other guys, coach will make determinations as far as who's practicing, but we got through mini-camp healthy.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nOpening Statement:\r\n

\r\n

Kevin Colbert: That's a lot of tape recorders for the limited amount of \r\ninformation. I'd like to start off by thanking Mike and the coaching staff for \r\nthe time that they've put in to this draft. Coming in brand new, they've got a \r\nlot on their mind, both from a personal standpoint, relocating families and \r\ngetting situated; and then from a professional standpoint, they're concerned \r\nwith the on-field product, as they should be. They did everything that we asked \r\nthem to do and we've been very appreciative of their efforts because as you know, it's a team collective effort.

\r\n

We're probably 90 percent of the way through the evaluations. We've finished all of our meetings on the positions themselves. For the rest of the week, we'll do some special, more concise meetings early in the week to \r\ntie up some loose ends on character and medical issues. Later in the week, we'll get into the mock drafts as we always do with the Rooneys and the entire coaching and scouting staff at the end.

\r\n

We're picking number 15 as everybody knows. As we always do, we'll call all the teams as far as trading up or trading down. It's less likely that we're going to go up. It's very expensive to get up into that top echelon. Trading down could be an option for us. We already have nine draft picks because we picked up an extra fourth and fifth as compensatory picks. This is probably a good draft where more picks midway through is probably a good thing because there are good players available in those three, four-round \r\nareas. That could be interesting to us.

\r\n

The draft itself, it's like anything else, it has its strengths, its weaknesses. The offensive line is probably an average area. The receivers are as deep as I've ever seen them with some special players in that group. I think you can go well into the second day and you're still going to come away with a\r\nquality receiver. The \r\ntight ends are a little lighter, but I think that's becoming more of\r\na trend because of the \r\nspread offenses, there are less fullbacks and less tight ends\r\nplaying. The quarterbacks are \r\na decent group, nothing special. Running backs are the same way.\r\nThere are a couple of \r\ngood guys and then there are some guys who are going to make teams\r\nand be \r\ncontributors. Defensively, I think it's good at all levels. I think\r\nthat's something that's \r\ninteresting to us because we could use help at any level of our\r\ndefense, not necessarily \r\nstarting, but if we can add depth at any level of our defense, we'll be helping our team.

\r\n

If\r\nyou look back at our draft history, at least since I've been involved\r\nwith it, we've always \r\nalternated offense and defense until the last three years, we've been\r\nstraight offense. That \r\ndoesn't mean we'll take a defensive player this year, but we got a\r\nlittle older on defense \r\nfrom a depth standing than you'd like to be. I think the only two\r\npositions you could \r\neliminate for us in the first round would be a quarterback or a tight\r\nend. I think anything \r\nother than that, we'll be wide open and we're excited. This is a new\r\nera and it's an exciting \r\ntime and we're ready to get going.

\r\n

Coach Tomlin, you mentioned coming in that you were looking for good\r\nfootball coaches \r\nwho were also good character men. Because of everything that has gone\r\non this offseason, \r\nhow much more does character of a player play into everything?

\r\n

MT: For me personally, it's no more of an emphasis this year than it\r\nhas been in the past. I \r\nthink that things that happen outside the white lines manifest\r\nthemselves inside the white \r\nlines. It's become more of an issue for the league as a whole and the\r\ncommissioner has \r\nbeen deliberate about his stance and the stance we're all going to\r\ntake on that. It is an \r\nissue. It's part of the evaluation process. It's part of a player's\r\nprofile, as it should be.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Kevin, would you considering trading Alan Faneca and have you had any\r\ntalks?

\r\n

KC: We'll touch base with every team. We never get into a specific\r\nname. Most teams don't. \r\nUnless they've come out publicly and said that. You never mention a\r\nplayer's name unless \r\nyou're sure that player is not going to be with you because if his\r\nname gets out in trade \r\ntalks and you don't trade him, now you've got a problem on your\r\nhands. Everybody is very \r\ngeneral. They may say, ‘We've got an extra offensive lineman on our\r\nhands, or we have an \r\nextra wideout or DB.' We're very vague or general in those\r\ndiscussions as well.

\r\n

Kevin, there's been a lot of talk that coach won't have as much\r\nsay-so if you come to a \r\nstalemate. How will that work?

\r\n

KC: We've been meeting with the coaches since April 2, so it's been a\r\nlong process. We've \r\nhad discussions, we've had disagreements, as we always do. We always\r\ncome to one \r\nconclusion, one way or another. It's a collaboration of not only\r\ncoach Tomlin and myself, \r\nbut all of the scouts and assistants. The two of us really sit in\r\nthere and try to monitor it \r\nand have good discussions based on similarities or differences.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Is trading a player for a pick or a pick for a player a possibility\r\nfor you?\r\n

\r\n

KC: Sure. We're open to anything. You never say never on any given\r\nsituation. If you say \r\nyou wouldn't do it and all of a sudden someone proposes something\r\ncrazy, they you've \r\ngot to consider it.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

It's kind of tough with the salary cap, though, isn't it?

\r\n

KC: Yes. If you trade one of your players, the acceleration would\r\ncome in the given year \r\nthat you trade.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Kevin, how does the second day change from the first day?

\r\n

KC: It really doesn't. Obviously the players you're picking on the\r\nsecond day, if you have \r\nthem evaluated correctly, aren't going to be as good as the ones you\r\nhopefully took on the \r\nfirst day. As we all know, that's not always the case. Tom Brady and\r\nWillie Parker come to \r\nmind right away. Usually you're drafting more depth on the second\r\nday. Or you're possibly \r\nconsidering guys that might not make your team, but he might be a\r\npractice guy who four \r\nweeks, eight weeks into the season, he might be ready to play and\r\nmake your active \r\nroster.\r\n\r\nYou also have less time.

\r\n

Are you more apt to take chances on the\r\nsecond day?

\r\n

KC: I wouldn't say that. I think we're very consistent. On the first\r\nday, we're ready to pick \r\nas soon as our turn comes up. We've talked about it as it approaches.\r\nWe'll have four or \r\nfive options at every pick and if one goes, we'll got right to the\r\nnext pick. It will be \r\ndiscussed. The only reason you wait is because you're waiting for a\r\nteam to maybe call \r\nand offer you something as a trade down like we did with Casey\r\nHampton. We wanted \r\nCasey where we were picking. But someone offered us a trade down and\r\nwe felt like we \r\nhad a good chance of still getting him. That's why we hold the pick.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

The second day you have five minutes, right?

\r\n

KC: Yes.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

How crazy does it get?\r\n

\r\n

KC: The trades are probably less complicated, but you have less time\r\nto complete them. \r\nYou make a call, you agree. One team calls the league and you agree\r\nwho's going to call \r\nthe league. The league will approve it and it's done and you have to\r\nfollow up with \r\npaperwork after that. But no paperwork has to be exchanged before the\r\nleague will \r\napprove it.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

With the 15th pick, you already know who you want to select at this\r\npoint, but you'll wait \r\njust in case the phone rings?

\r\n

KC: Right. We're going to have 15 guys that we agree that we would\r\ntake with that pick. \r\nWe're not going to lose in the first round. We're going to have a\r\nplayer. We'll have 15 and \r\nthere will only be 15 picks, so we're going to take one of them. It's\r\njust a matter that of \r\nthose 15, there might only be four of them available when we pick. So\r\nwe'll have to see \r\nwhat four or three or two are available.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

When you draft that guy at 15, do you leave the quarterbacks and\r\ntight ends out of it?\r\n

\r\n

KC: No, obviously there are quarterbacks that are going to be above\r\nthat. You know those \r\nguys, chances are very good they're going to go. So you have to have\r\n15 players you \r\nwould take. They might not necessarily be the top 15 because of\r\npositions like I \r\nmentioned.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Do you do that throughout the course of the day and reload four or\r\nfive players at each \r\npick?

\r\n

KC: Yeah, we want to have options. We don't want to be locked in to\r\nthis guy. We want to \r\nhave options. Say you've got a group of players and the top-rated guy\r\nis a quarterback \r\nand the bottom-rated guy is a corner. But if they're rated close,\r\nyou're going to take the \r\ncorner because the need does factor in. The mistake that will be made\r\nis if you need \r\nsomething and you wait until the next round to take them and you left\r\na better player on \r\nthe board. In the end, that will catch up to you.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Coach, as an assistant in the past, how different did you approach\r\nthe draft from what \r\nyou're doing now?

\r\n

MT: Really, I received great advice as a young coach so I approached\r\nit the same way then \r\nas I do now. As a position coach, I studied everybody in the draft.\r\nWe had an open-door \r\npolicy down in Tampa in terms of the coaches being able to be a part\r\nof the process \r\nwhether your position was being discussed or not. I took advantage of\r\nthat. I'm a \r\npersonnel enthusiast by nature. I think if you want to be in this\r\nbusiness, you'd better \r\nhave an interest in personnel. Mentally, I've been through the\r\nprocess before. Not \r\nofficially, but it's something I've done in the past.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

How many players and draft picks would you like to add to your\r\nroster? \r\n

\r\n

MT: We'll determine that. That's what part of last week was about,\r\ngetting a sense of the \r\nguys we have here and seeing if they are viable guys and how we feel\r\nabout them and \r\nadding to those guys or making changes if necessary as we move\r\nforward in the draft. \r\nThose are some of the things we're going to talk about this week as\r\nwe move forward and \r\ncontinue to stack the board, particularly as we get into the second\r\nday and free agent guys \r\nand how they stack up against the guys we have here.\r\n

How many guys on your roster? \r\n

KC: Seventy four.\r\n

The max once you start signing guys is 80? \r\n

KC: We can have 84 because we have four exemptions for guys in\r\nEurope.\r\n

But it doesn't count when you draft them, it counts when you sign\r\nthem? \r\n

KC: Yes.\r\n

So if these guys aren't signed, you could have as many as 100 guys\r\nfor your mini-camp. \r\n

KC: It doesn't count in the NFL's eyes, but Mr. (Dan) Rooney and Art\r\n(Rooney), they keep a \r\nlimit right where they want it to be and it will be 84.\r\n

That's 10, so you're going to have to throw guys out if you have 15\r\nrookies? \r\n

KC: As coach said, there might be better players available as we go\r\nthrough the draft than \r\nwhat we have on that 74. Coach will make the determination of who he\r\nwants to bring \r\nback for the second mini-camp or training camp. Some of the kids who\r\nmay be available \r\nto us may be an upgrade and we would adjust accordingly.\r\n

In that regard, how would you characterize the value of the past\r\nweekend? \r\n

MT: What it does do is give you a sense of skill set, what somebody\r\nis capable of doing \r\nphysically from a body control standpoint and physically. It's not\r\nfootball because it's in \r\nshorts, so I don't want to put too much value on it. But it is\r\nvaluable in seeing what \r\nsomeone is perhaps capable of being in terms of playing the game.\r\n\r\nCoach, there's a player in the same building here, Darrell Revis, who\r\na lot of people think \r\nmight go in the first round.\r\n

What are some things you look and say\r\nthis guy can play? \r\n

MT: The thing that's interesting to me is that he's a\r\npower-transition guy. He's a power \r\nplayer. You like guys that play like that, strong. He's got a nice\r\nbody, a nice combination \r\nof size and speed. And he's a young guy, he's a true junior. You\r\nwould imagine that \r\nthere's a lot of football in front of him. He seems to have his head\r\non straight, he's a \r\nsharp young man. He has a lot of things that are attractive about\r\nhim.\r\n

Would he be someone you guys might be interested in? \r\n

MT: He'd be somebody that I'd be interested in. Sure. He's definitely\r\na viable guy. I don't \r\nthink his name is too far down on any of the 32 boards.\r\n

What about the kid from Penn State, (Paul) Posluszny? \r\n

KC: No, you got your one. Obviously there are good guys next door.\r\nThere are good guys \r\nat Penn State. There are good guys at West Virginia. Everybody knows\r\nwho they are. \r\nBelieve me, they're all in consideration at various levels for us.\r\nWe're very fortunate that \r\nwe're surrounded by some good schools that are within a four-hour\r\nradius. You've got \r\nOhio State, West Virginia and Pitt and Penn State. We have to pay\r\nspecial attention to those \r\nguys. If we don't know about those players, we're not doing our jobs.\r\nIt's a lot easier to \r\nkeep up with where they are, especially the kids next door.\r\n

When you think about Marques Colston, does it make you pay more\r\nattention to the so-\r\ncalled sleepers? \r\n

KC: No. Those things are going to happen. We're going to miss. You\r\ncan't evaluate out of \r\nfear that you're going to miss somebody. You have to stay true to\r\nwhat you believe is the \r\nright way to do it. You don't accept somebody slipping through\r\nbecause obviously he was \r\na much better player than any of us gave him credit for. It's going\r\nto happen. We're not \r\nhappy about it and we're always going to go back and look at the\r\nmistakes we had and \r\nwhy did we make those mistakes. We'll be critical about why we missed\r\nhim. It's the same \r\nas when you draft a player high and he doesn't work out. It's not the\r\nplayer's fault, it's our \r\nfault. If he didn't live up to the pick, that's our fault for\r\noverevaluating him. We don't \r\nchange if we believe in what we're doing, we stay true to it.\r\n

Do you draft players to fit a defense or draft the player and worry\r\nabout the style later? \r\n

KC: I'll answer first and then I'll let coach. In a given system that\r\nwe've had here for so \r\nmany years, it was you knew a certain type of player fit better than\r\nanother. But you don't \r\nwant to lock him into a specific need. I know coach will answer it\r\nthis way and I don't want \r\nto take words out of his mouth, but he says talent defies scheme and\r\nif you lock yourself \r\nin and say he can't help us, then maybe we'll make a mistake.\r\n

MT: That is exactly what I was going to say, talent does defy scheme.\r\nThe great ones will \r\nplay regardless of what the specific plays are. And really, in\r\ntoday's NFL, the lines are \r\ngetting somewhat blurry. Specifically, if you're talking about 3-4\r\nversus 4-3, the issue, in \r\nmy opinion, is two-gap front or one-gap front. There are some 3-4\r\nteams that are one-\r\ngap fronts. There's some 3-4 teams that are two-gap fronts. The 3-4\r\nteams that are one-\r\ngap fronts play very similar to a 4-3. It's becoming gray. Football\r\nplayers are football \r\nplayers. Guys who can make plays, make plays.\r\n

You've been involved in this before, but as you get closer to your\r\nfirst draft, are you \r\ngetting nervous or anxious? \r\n

MT: I do. But I like that feeling. I've gotten that feeling about a\r\nlot of things in the past few \r\nmonths. The draft is one of them. It's exciting and you love those\r\nchallenges and look \r\nforward to them personally.\r\n

Everybody goes to the combine, but can you talk about how you choose\r\nwhich pro days \r\nyou go to personally? \r\n

KC: Usually, what we try to do is be very selective in the spring\r\nonly because there's time \r\nconstrains. For the most part we're going to zero in on players that\r\ndidn't work out at the \r\ncombine and make sure we get the same live evaluation that we saw in\r\nIndianapolis. \r\nBeyond that, you fill in some dates because, quite honestly, we were\r\ntraveling in style. The \r\ncoach comes in handy, but that's a whole different story. We were out\r\nand if there were \r\nother workouts available, we were going to stay out for an extra\r\nlook. The more \r\nevaluations you can get, the better. If we can be out every day in\r\nthe spring, I'd go to all of \r\nthem or take coach to all of them. It's too hard, so you try to map\r\nout a productive trip \r\nand if there's some time to fill in, we'll do that. And we did that\r\nthis spring.\r\n\r\n

MT: What Kevin is referring to is if he takes me with him, he gets to\r\nfly in a private jet and \r\ndoesn't have to fly commercial. We had a good week getting around.\r\nEvery step along the \r\nway in terms of that draft, are just pieces of the puzzle. The\r\nreality is you go to a personal \r\nworkout because there are some questions that need to be answered\r\nalong the way, or \r\nyou want to dig deeper into things that maybe you missed along the\r\nway. It all works \r\ntogether. It's about information gathering as you lead up to next\r\nweekend.\r\n

What about you going to the Florida State pro day together? Do you do\r\nthat a lot?

MT: For me personally, it's about being in Tampa so long, I'd been to\r\nabout the past six of \r\nthem in a row. It'd become normalcy to me, similar to you guys going\r\nto Pitt or something \r\nlike that. That was my mentality for it. They have a quality program\r\nand they are going to \r\nhave good guys coming out every year.\r\n

KC: Plus, if I remember that week, Arkansas was working out that\r\nTuesday and they had a \r\nplayer, Jamal Anderson, who hadn't worked out. And Michigan was\r\nworking out on Friday \r\nand Lamar Woodley hadn't worked out. There was time in between, so we\r\nsaid let's go out \r\nand get extra looks. We could do it, so logistically we decided  to\r\ntake advantage of it. \r\nThat really was the case.\r\n

What are the differences between Kevin and his staff and other places\r\nyou've been? \r\n

MT: Probably very similar to some situations that I've been in in\r\nterms of the process. One \r\nof the things that I'm appreciating about what we do here is the\r\ncommunication, the \r\ncommitment to staying in the room and talking about issues when\r\ndifferences of opinions \r\noccur. The decisions we make next weekend are going to be Pittsburgh\r\nSteelers' decisions, \r\nso it requires communication as we continue to massage situations\r\nuntil we feel \r\ncomfortable with them.\r\n

Why do good players drop into the second round and does that make\r\nyour second-round \r\npick equally important? \r\n

KC: I don't think that's gotten any different in recent years. I\r\ndon't think this draft is \r\nnecessarily top-heavy. It's interesting to me that late second, early\r\nthird, early fourth, \r\nthere are good players that we're going to have access to. I think\r\nevery year it's just \r\ndifferent. You might see trends, there are less tight ends and less\r\nfullbacks because of the \r\nspread offenses. Consequently, on defense, you see more corners\r\nbecause they have to \r\ncover all of these guys. It's just a trend in college football that\r\nwe have to adjust to \r\nbecause it lends to different blocking and different techniques\r\ndefensively because of the \r\ndifferent blocking. We have to see through that to see if these guys\r\ncan play the type of \r\ngame that we play. I don't think there's any trend other than that\r\nthat we're seeing as far \r\nas any round.\r\n

Where do you see the tiers being this year? There's always the group\r\nof elite players at the \r\ntop and then a next level of very good players who aren't quite\r\nelite. Where is that this \r\nyear? \r\n

KC: I think the one thing is the elite players this year are\r\noffensive guys. That's unusual, \r\nvery unusual. For the most part, there are obviously a couple of\r\ndefensive guys, but \r\nnothing like it usually is. I think that trend is a little different\r\nthis year. We feel good about \r\nwhere we are at 15, but this isn't a bad year to be a little bit\r\nlower too. There's a lot of \r\ngood players that are going to be available. We're excited. We wish\r\nwe had more than nine \r\npicks, to be honest with you. I think we could really help ourselves.\r\n

Verron Haynes, how's he doing and are you still considering\r\nre-signing him? \r\n

KC: We terminated Verron and that was for salary cap issues that was\r\nactually to his \r\nbenefit. He is actually here working with (trainer) John Norwig and\r\nour training staff and \r\nhis goal is to be available for training camp. Coach told him and we\r\nreaffirmed that if he \r\ncomes back healthy, we want him on this team because Verron is a big\r\npart of what we do. \r\nAs far as other guys, coach will make determinations as far as who's\r\npracticing, but we got \r\nthrough mini-camp healthy.

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