- Stopping by: The Steelers can host up to 30 draft eligible players for visits at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, and it's an opportunity for Coach Mike Tomlin as well as others in the organization to get to know the prospects on a completely different level. Last year the Steelers drafted several players who were in for visits, including receiver Sammie Coates and tight end Jesse James, and it's been a similar case throughout the years.
"It's unbelievably valuable," said Tomlin. "You do your due diligence. You get to know kids. It's amazing. You spend a day with a young man, the level in which you get to know him. Things of that nature. So it was good and it has been good."
Time well spent:** Tomlin said the time they get to spend with draft prospects during their pro days are also invaluable, and while they don't draft every player they meet with, sometimes those meetings play a role further down the line. Tight end Ladarius Green was a player the Steelers brought in for a pre-draft visit when he was coming out of college, and it left a lasting impact.
"We like to get out, we're very active in the pro days, on the pro-day circuit," said Tomlin. "We believe there's no exception to getting our feet on the ground and interacting with the young men and those who they work with, and getting ourselves a better chance at understanding them and getting to know them. Like in the instance of Green, even things that don't pan out from a draft standpoint, we might be doing visits with them in the future. And that's going to be a great day or two well spent, if we get the opportunity to do business with any of these guys."
Together again: This year's draft will be the 10th that Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert have teamed up for, and the two have developed the perfect working relationship to make everything tick.
"We have a pretty fluid plan at this juncture," said Tomlin. "We are like an old married couple. I enjoy the time spent with him this time of year, assessing talent, building our team. He is a great work partner. We have great, clean and fluid communication. But we really, oftentimes, are at the point of our relationship where not a lot of communication is needed. We have just been together for so long, I have a pretty good sense of what his outlook is going to be on players. In situations I am sure he feels the same way about me."
Tomlin said a key in making it work so well is it's not his draft, it's not Colbert's draft. It's the Steelers draft.
"We don't care who gets the credit," said Tomlin. "We are just trying to build our team to the best of our ability and put together a strong group. We are singularly focused on doing that and doing it the right way. I think we are rightly focused in that regard. Personal agendas and things like that really never come into the equation. It hasn't with us since I've been with him."