Analyzing the Pittsburgh Steelers First Round NFL Draft Picks

By Curt Popejoy
Pittsburgh Steeleres
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at projections of picks for 2013 NFL draft, it’s amazing how little agreement there is for who the best prospect is for a team to select. Even when reaching out to fans, there is so little consensus. But something I keep hearing about is that teams have “patterns” they follow when it comes to the draft–whether it’s position, school or conference.

In fact, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in particular told me that my picks in my latest mock draft were either bad or good based on this pattern. I immediately thought that to be hokum, but for the sake of accuracy, I decided to look over the first round picks of the  Steelers since Kevin Colbert became the general manager back in 2000.

Breaking down the 13 first round picks Colbert has been a part of, it breaks down like this by position, school and conference.

Offensive guard-Stanford-Pac 12
Defensive end-Ohio State Big 10
Defensive EndMissouriBig 12
Running Back-IllinoisBig 10
Linebacker-Florida State-ACC
Wide ReceiverOhio State-Big 10
Tight EndVirginaACC
Safety-USCPAC 12
Offensive guard-Auburn-SEC
Defensive tackle-Texas-Big 12
Wide Receiver-Michigan State-Big 10

So tell me, Steelers fans, when it comes to first round picks, what is the pattern? There have been 13 drafts and 10 different positions, 12 different schools and six different conferences. What’s the pattern? The closest thing I can find is that Colbert isn’t afraid to pull the trigger in the first round on a lineman, whether it’s offense or defense, with 6 of 13 picks, but aside from that, I call bunk on the pattern theory.

It appears to me that Colbert and the Steelers assess all their team needs, weigh that with the best player available on their draft board when their first round pick comes up and then make their selection. They don’t limit themselves to certain conferences, which shows me a real commitment to scouting, including the financial commitment that goes along with it.

The Steelers, particularly since Colbert has taken over, have done a nice job in their first round draft picks. If you look at most of the top teams in the NFL, they do as well and they do it without forcing themselves into bad draft habits like looking to the same school or conference too much or refusing to draft a particular position in the first round.

Does your team have bad draft habits or do they follow the pattern of drafting the best player to help their team regardless of school, conference or position? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know what you think.



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