Before the draft, a report emerged that Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert raised the possibility of adding three rounds to the process in 2020, given the restrictions to pre-draft information gathering prompted by the pandemic. On Tuesday, Colbert was asked whether he did indeed make that request.
“It was disappointing when you have what are supposed to be confidential conference calls where you discuss ideas about the draft,” Colbet said on the #PFTPM podcast, “and I did. I did make that suggestion. Why don’t we think about three extra rounds?”
Colbert went on to explain the basis for the suggestion.
“And the reasoning was, part of it was selfish,” Colbert said. “You wanted to have a safety net because we’re dealing with less information, and the more picks you have, maybe you’ll have a little bit of a safety net again. The other thing was it would give the marginal player that didn’t get his opportunity to go to a Pro Day and to perform. Maybe there will be more players drafted and then those players will then again have the chance they might not get.”
While plenty of players signed after the draft as undrafted free agents, the process was even more frenetic and imperfect than usual. Moreover, the absence of rookie minicamps in 2020 eliminates the opportunity for otherwise overlooked players to get opportunities by participating on a tryout basis. As Colbert noted, that’s how the Steelers found quarterback Devlin Hodges in 2019.
“Every year a team might stumble upon a tryout player,” Colbert said. “Maybe if we ever get on the field, we can think of a way to help those because there’s a big group of players that aren’t getting opportunities because of the situation.”
As to the possibility of getting back on the field, Colbert said that teams continue to not know when that may happen. There’s a pretty good chance that, by the time it does, some players who otherwise may have found their footing via offseason tryouts held in early May will have decided to move on from football altogether.