Kevin Colbert calls pre-draft leaks “horrible”

AP

The explosion of media covering the NFL has led to the creation of a key rule of thumb regarding the draft:  Teams that love a player will leak negative information in the hopes the player fall to them, and teams that hate a player will tout him in the hopes that someone higher on the board will take him.

Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert isn’t a fan of the practice.

I think it’s horrible,” Colbert said during his annual pre-draft press conference, via Scott Brown of ESPN.com.  “I think it’s really bad for our profession when people use whatever means they use to get information out to try to influence the draft and they talk about a kid’s test score, a kid’s injury, a kid’s character.  I think that’s awful.  It’s disrespectful to our profession, it’s disrespectful to the game, it’s disrespectful to the kid.”

But it’s a realistic and understandable practice in the Machiavellian world of getting the best players via a system of picking one after another from the pool of eligible former college players.  The only way to stop if from happening would be to get rid of the draft and allow teams to compete for the rookies in the same way they compete for free agents.

Colbert’s sentiments are honorable, but he grossly underestimates the potential impact of the leaked information.

“[W]e really don’t pay attention to it,” Colbert said of the leaked information.   “We don’t believe in mock drafts and what people are saying about other teams because so much of it is misinformation.  You’d just lose your mind trying to figure out what everyone’s going to do.  We’re going to be true to what we do and feel good about it and live with it.”

While he and other scouts may not listen to the noise, owners and non-scouts in positions of influence do.  And in some cities owners and other non-scouts in positions of influence have great influence over the process.

If people didn’t think the process of leaking information to manipulate the draft works, they wouldn’t waste their time doing it.  And regardless of whether it works, enough people think that it does to result in enough people continuing to do it.

45 responses to “Kevin Colbert calls pre-draft leaks “horrible”

  1. Every so often, Colbert has gotten it right and for the most part, it has been on the offensive end of things. But his failure to respond to glaring defensive secondary needs during free agency and the complete failure of those he has picked on the defensive side can only make you wonder. Instead of worrying about social media and leaks, you’d think he’d be out beating the bushes for DB help. I can’t even imagine who is going to play back there this year.

  2. “So when we heard that Big Ben was rumored to stalk women in nightclubs, we were skeptical. And with good reason – turns out he did it in bars. That report was way off.”

  3. When owners from credible organizations pay attention then maybe Colbert will too. But he doesn’t work for the Browns. He works for the Steelers.

  4. This is hilarious coming from a Pittsburgh executive. An organization that made a statement calling James Harrisons’ Domestic Violence charges “understandable” and failing to release a two time sexual assault champion tells you everything you need to know. Pittsburgh will do anything to get an edge.

  5. He also feels that bluffing in poker is just wrong. Everyone should be honest about what cards they have.

  6. I get both sides but if a GM runs a draft based on other GM’s, scouts, and medics opinions about a player then he’s probably not a good GM.

  7. This is hilarious coming from a Pittsburgh executive. An organization that made a statement calling James Harrisons’ Domestic Violence charges “understandable” and failing to release a two time sexual assault champion tells you everything you need to know. Pittsburgh will do anything to get an edge.

    They did not call James Harrisons’ domestic violence charges “understandable”, they called the disagreement that led to the incident “understandable” and BB was never charged or convicted of sexual assault.

  8. The sad thing is that it really only hurts the bad teams. The bad teams are bad teams because they have bad scouts. Bad scouts don’t have confidence in their own opinions, so they tend to listen to what others are saying. Good scouts couldn’t care less about what others are saying, so they don’t listen to all the noise.

  9. “So when we heard that Big Ben was rumored to stalk women in nightclubs, we were skeptical. And with good reason – turns out he did it in bars. That report was way off.”

    Too bad the woman in Georgia was stalking him that night.

  10. If teams are listening to garbage time instead of doing due diligence towards their own homework then they deserve to fail. Many teams do. I don’t know why The Steelers GM cares. They, the Steelers, along with Baltimore and Cincinnati in the AFCN are some of the very few best franchises to draft well and build thru the draft not FA.

  11. Kevin Colbert IS one of the top 3 GMs in the NFL but the Steelers gambled a few years back by keeping the SB team together.

    He knew then it would hurt them down the road- and it has.

    Except for Bob Kraft’s statistically impossible every-other-year SB squad all NFL teams know that free agency and the salary cap cake it impossible to stay in the hunt for more than a few years.

    The Steelers had a very real chance to win 4 SBs starting ’04 and played well in 3 including two wins and one fantastic game they lost to another great organization in GB.

    Say what you will about Colbert but I think he’ll put together at least one more Lombardi-quality team before he’s done.

  12. Im just shocked this hasn’t been the Patriots fault somehow…I mean they are accused of everything else so…it is sill early so Im sure I wont get disappointed…lol

  13. Teams are going to do what the teams are going to do, irregardless of anything the media writes or says. And the media is going to do all it can to keep the internet traffic & viewership flowing, regardless of any ethical or moral codes that would get trampled in the process.

  14. There’s an easy solution. Ban all team comments about prospects and call violations tampering, with draft picks lost as a penalty. The media can still speculate, but most of the intentional misinformation would dry up.

  15. Let’s all be happy we don’t live in that disgusting hole of a city Baltimore which is burning at the moment.

  16. Or if the media wasn’t tripping all over themselves to “report” almost anything from their “anonymous sources” as long as it gets clicks and views.

  17. Could it be that Colbert saying he doesn’t pay attention to that stuff is further misinformation??? He trying to play double agent on us here???

  18. This sounds like someone whose been suckered by the misinformation game recently.

  19. I love all the pre-draft garbage talk. If a team is dumb enough to fall for any of that nonsense, they have an incompetent GM, and are going to fail anyway. It’s like poker. Don’t punish the good bluffers, and reward the fools.

  20. There’s an easy solution. Ban all team comments about prospects and call violations tampering, with draft picks lost as a penalty. The media can still speculate, but most of the intentional misinformation would dry up.

    —————

    It’s already illegal to talk about other players on other teams, but teams still do it. That’s because it’s hard to prove.

    Now, imagine how many “anonymous GMs” and “anonymous scouts” would find there way out to talk about prospects.

    I wish it were simple, but there is no solution to this.

  21. @kissbillsrings

    Even Kensil and Grigson couldn’t pin the leaks on the Patriots. The months before the draft are a time of total silence. A Patriots mock draft consists of guessing whether their first choice will be on offense or defense.
    .

  22. Nobody was impressed with Christian Ponder but it sure did hoodwink the Vikings in taking him at #12 when everybody else has a 3rd or 4th round grade on him.

    The Vikings think whoever leaked that he could play QB should feel as horrible as their fans do.

  23. I personally like the mock drafts as it gives us fans something to talk about regarding our teams in the offseason,I strongly agree with everything else that Kevin Colbert said however.He is a Pittsburgh guy,100%

  24. enoughofthatalready says:
    Apr 27, 2015 5:57 PM
    This is hilarious coming from a Pittsburgh executive. An organization that made a statement calling James Harrisons’ Domestic Violence charges “understandable” and failing to release a two time sexual assault champion tells you everything you need to know. Pittsburgh will do anything to get an edge.

    They did not call James Harrisons’ domestic violence charges “understandable”, they called the disagreement that led to the incident “understandable” and BB was never charged or convicted of sexual assault.

    ===========================

    its not a lie if you believe it i guess.

  25. glad to be a pats fan. usually when they make a first round pick the draft prognisticators start searching google to find about the guy they picked. and yet weve had winning seasons for the past 14 seasons in a row with 6 super bowl appearances. so people can say whatever they want. if you wanna listen to them, thats your personal choice.

  26. The only way to stop if from happening would be to get rid of the draft and allow teams to compete for the rookies in the same way they compete for free agents.
    ~~~~~~~~
    Not really. Another way to stop it would simply be to not talk to the media about draftable players until the card is in. Kinda like the tampering rule but enforced. That would make local sportswriters and sites like this lose their minds.

  27. dontstabmeray says:Apr 27, 2015 7:14 PM

    Let’s all be happy we don’t live in that disgusting hole of a city Baltimore which is burning at the moment.

    Bang on a social problem, that can happen pretty much in any city of size, in a sports forum. Hope it doesn’t happen in your town. You sure are a class act.

  28. I don’t know, but just based on feel and talking to people, it seems like this year’s draft doesn’t really have that much hype. Seems like everything has been about Winston and Mariotta and that’s it.

  29. They need to draft a QB since Ben has been abysmal in the playoffs throughout his career, and now without an elite defense to carry him he’s been exposed as the average player he is, accounting for their lack of post season success the past 5 years.

  30. Colbert should worry instead about how to stop a 1st and 10 on the 20 from becoming 80 yards of prime time humiliation.

  31. It’s called gamesmanship, and with every team having a constant local media presence, and every team giving a pre-draft presser, plenty of misinformation is put out there.

    Is it wrong? Well, teams play around with who’s on IR, who’s starting, etc. It’s constant. It’s part of the game, really. Every team does it, so they all should be prepared for it and learn how to deal with it.

    For example, the Bucs could technically announce their pick well before the draft. Why don’t they? My only guess is they’re waiting to see if someone offers them something ridiculous for their pick. They keep talking up how excited they are about Winston so that if a big trade DOES happen they can say they’re giving up something significant.

    If they just said “we don’t really care for either QB”, there’s no stakes in the game.

  32. Asked his thoughts on Tomlin stepping onto the field and blocking a young runner, Colbert said “I think that’s awful. It’s disrespectful to our profession, it’s disrespectful to the game, it’s disrespectful to the kid.”

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