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First-round trade a one-way street

Posted May 5, 2014

If the Steelers do any trading on the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, expect it to be a trade down

The Steelers have the 15th overall selection in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft, and they won’t be picking any higher than that.

Lower? Perhaps, but higher, in all likelihood, isn’t happening.

“We won’t be trading up, because we can’t,” General Manager Kevin Colbert announced on Monday. “We traded away last year’s third-round pick (to Cleveland for the fourth-round selection ultimately used to draft safety Shamarko Thomas of Syracuse). And in order to move up in the first round you usually would have to include that in the package.

“We have a (compensatory) pick in the third round but you can’t trade those. So there won’t be any movement up on our part, I can say that pretty sure.

“Obviously we still could trade down. And with the depth of this draft that’s, I think, a real possibility. At least it’s an option that’s available to us.”

Colbert reiterated on Monday that the depth of the 2014 draft comprises “the best that I’ve seen in my 30 years doing this.

“There are easily 15 players available that we’ll be very happy with if we’re able to pick them,” Colbert said. “I think you could say there are probably at least 19 players you could say you’d be happy to get at pick No. 15.”

The Steelers traded up to get USC safety Troy Polamalu in 2003 and Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes in 2006 and down to get Texas nose tackle Casey Hampton in 2001.

“When you trade up, sure, you have a specific guy in mind,” Colbert said. “When you trade back, you want to see how many places you can go back, what you’re going to get in return and what are the odds that I’m going to get that player or that group of players.

“If we trade back three spots, very rarely will you do it without three people you would take (still on the board). You want to be in a no-lose situation. Could you roll the dice and go 67 percent? Sure, but as a general rule you never want to trade yourself away from a specific group of players.”

The trade value chart some NFL teams subscribe to is little more than a starting point for the Steelers in such discussions.

“We won’t ever make a trade based on the chart,” Colbert said. “If we want a player, we’ll go and get that player. We always talk about trading up, and when we did it with Troy (the cost) was a No. 3 and a No. 6. When we did it with Santonio, it was a No. 3 and a No. 4.

“People will argue, ‘Well, you gave up too much.’ And I’ll argue, ‘How much is a Super Bowl worth?’ When you want to make that trade, you do it on what you want to do, but you have to know what the other person is thinking. If we want to do it, we’ll do it and we won’t follow a chart.”

As for what the Steelers will be seeking on Thursday night, “If we stay where we are there are probably a few positions that are off the table,” Colbert said. “But if we traded back there would be no position that would be off the table because, again, it’s a special group of players.

“If the situation presents itself, and we can get more picks in this draft, I think the more the merrier without question.”

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