PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The NFL Draft is a few weeks away. While we don't know who the Pittsburgh Steelers will pick, we do know they plan to address a couple of needs this offseason.
Whether it's in the draft or via free agency, the quarterback position is an area of concern.
While Ben Roethlisberger will be back, the Steelers need to figure out the backup situation.
KDKA-TV's Rich Walsh had a chance to ask General Manager Kevin Colbert about that very situation.
"Well, when we scout that position throughout the fall we do it regardless of our own team. We're putting together the whole draft class, so we have information on all the top quarterbacks every year. Whether Ben was a rookie, sixth year or moving into 14. You know, the great organizations have gone from one great quarterback to another: Joe Montana to Steve Young, Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. You want to have great players at that position in succession. So, you will have to address it before Ben's career comes to an end. At what point? That varies every year. We will always look at it. If it makes sense, we do it, if it doesn't, we move on," Colbert said.
It could make sense this year especially because the Steelers have eight picks in the draft. What also makes sense is finding a backup running back to Le'Veon Bell.
The Steelers just placed the franchise tag on the star running back, but they are vigorously trying to work on a long term deal.
"Again, we want to be able to have Le'Veon be like [Antonio Brown], be a great player for us hopefully for the extent of his career. That will be our goal. We had to do the necessary business to ensure he wouldn't go anywhere in '17, but we did it with his knowledge and his agent's knowledge that our ultimate goal is to get him signed to a long term deal," Colbert said.
The Steelers are hoping to have wide receiver Martavis Bryant back for 2017, but that's still a kind of unknown.
Kevin Colbert Interview: Part 2
Bryant has applied for reinstatement and everyone is waiting for the NFL's ruling, including Colbert.
"When a player's on a year suspension, he's not only off the team, he's out of the league. So, everything he does does not involve us. It strictly involves himself and the National Football League. When he applies and if they grant that reinstatement, we have absolutely nothing to do with it. It's totally between the player and the league and we just have to wait it out," Colbert said.
With that in mind, the Steelers are continuing to operate as if Bryant isn't on the team.
"I have no idea how the process works. This is the first guy that we've had. Again, the league will determine that and we'll act accordingly. So, we just have to act under the reality that right now he's not an NFL player, let alone a Pittsburgh Steeler. If that changes, somewhere down the line it changes. In the meantime, were going to operate under the assumption that he's not here because he isn't," Colbert said.
Bryant spent most of the past year in Las Vegas working out. Colbert also said this draft is deep with receivers, so don't be surprised if the Steelers go in that direction at some point with one of their eight picks.
Colbert will definitely have a better idea who they will potentially draft after this week's NFL Combine.
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