Every offseason as the NFL Draft approaches fans wonder what their teams are planning. Mock drafts are written projecting what players are to be selected, as well as what teams may pull off that draft day deal to move up and grab a coveted player, or trade back to gather more picks. In fact, teams like the New England Patriots make a living at manipulating the draft and usually corner the market on trading back for future draft picks.
For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, they usually sit back and watch their team let the draft fall to them. A quick look at draft day under GM Kevin Colbert shows that there have been only three times since 2000 where he dealt his first round pick to move up (twice) or down (once). Those deals were important in the development of the franchise as it is today, landing some solid players that played a large role in winning at least one or both of their Super Bowls in the decade. In the 2001 draft, the Steelers traded down from pick 16 to 19 to grab NT Casey Hampton, in 2003, they traded up 11 spots to select S Troy Polamalu, and finally in 2006 they traded up again to pick WR Santonio Holmes.
As the pre-draft process continues, fans wonder if this is the year that the franchise again decides to trade down and potentially grab more picks, and another impact player. From an outside perspective and quick glance, that answer should be yes. As Steelers101 has outlined previously, the team has as many as 14 open roster spots going into the 2012 campaign (mostly on offense) and not a lot of cap space to complete the roster makeover. Yes, they did gain three seventh round compensation selections, but how soon can they count on production from those players or is that even a realistic possibility?
In looking at the list of pre-draft visitors, it appears that the team may also be preparing for a draft-day move. Of the 13 visitors, four of them project to late-first round or second round prospects, while the other nine look to be mid-to-late round selections. Yes, the visitors are only a small snapshot, as history shows only one first-round selection in the Mike Tomlin era has actually visited the team headquarters prior to the draft, but still it is an intriguing aspect on the players visiting to this point of the process. Fortunately, for fans, only two and a half weeks are left until draft day, and all questions will be answered.
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