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STEELERS ROUNDUP \ News and notes



Published: Tue, April 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Schedule: Kevin Colbert, the Steelers director of football operations, said his staff will finalize its evaluations of this year's players by Wednesday, then run mock drafts on Thursday and Friday. "The rest of the week will be spent trying to identify the Top 30," Colbert said. Barring a trade, the Steelers' first pick will be No. 30.Bettis to roll: Steelers coach Bill Cowher says Jerome Bettis is "planning on coming back. All those second thoughts he [once had], at least in the conversations I've been having with him, aren't really even there." Clarett: Are the Steelers interested in former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett? Maybe. Colbert downplayed how the Steelers evaluated Clarett's recent workout in Bazetta Township. "Maurice Clarett was no different than anybody else," Colbert said. "We hadn't finalized our information and we were working guys out until last week. [Evaluating Clarett] was no special situation -- it was just a matter of finalizing his evaluation." So are they interested in adding a running back with a late-round pick? Maybe. "We'll look at how the draft evolves," Cowher said. "With [Bettis], Duce, Verron and Willie, we have pretty good depth right now. But I certainly wouldn't rule it out."Real test: Cowher says the real test for young players is measured in the second season. "The big jump is the first year to the second year, just in terms of going through it once and being able to pace themselves. That first year is always very long, very hectic."Consistency: Asked how he rates each draft's success, Cowher said. "If you don't have a good draft, its' going to show on the field at some point. You've got to make sure that the players you are getting are contributing because that's what determines that constant balance of veterans and young players that you want on your team. Part of having that balance is not getting too old too fast or getting too young too soon is having good drafts where you can have some good young players come in. They may step in right away, they may have to sit a year."Pre-draft evaluations: Colbert says the less-coveted players have been seen by fewer NFL personnel. "We have as much information on those guys from an evaluation standpoint at least in rounds four and five," Colbert said. "The early guys, we probably have five looks at them between three scouts and two coaches. Second-day guys, sometimes it's two scouts and one coach. We have just as much medical and character information as on the first guys."Undrafted players: Colbert said the scramble for free agents begins as soon as the final pick is made. "It's a quick process," said Colbert, who said the Steelers begin by targeting the players they had on their board. "We call their agent and if he's indecisive, we move on to the next guy. Otherwise you might lose both of them."

Schedule: Kevin Colbert, the Steelers director of football operations, said his staff will finalize its evaluations of this year's players by Wednesday, then run mock drafts on Thursday and Friday. "The rest of the week will be spent trying to identify the Top 30," Colbert said. Barring a trade, the Steelers' first pick will be No. 30.Bettis to roll: Steelers coach Bill Cowher says Jerome Bettis is "planning on coming back. All those second thoughts he [once had], at least in the conversations I've been having with him, aren't really even there." Clarett: Are the Steelers interested in former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett? Maybe. Colbert downplayed how the Steelers evaluated Clarett's recent workout in Bazetta Township. "Maurice Clarett was no different than anybody else," Colbert said. "We hadn't finalized our information and we were working guys out until last week. [Evaluating Clarett] was no special situation -- it was just a matter of finalizing his evaluation." So are they interested in adding a running back with a late-round pick? Maybe. "We'll look at how the draft evolves," Cowher said. "With [Bettis], Duce, Verron and Willie, we have pretty good depth right now. But I certainly wouldn't rule it out."Real test: Cowher says the real test for young players is measured in the second season. "The big jump is the first year to the second year, just in terms of going through it once and being able to pace themselves. That first year is always very long, very hectic."Consistency: Asked how he rates each draft's success, Cowher said. "If you don't have a good draft, its' going to show on the field at some point. You've got to make sure that the players you are getting are contributing because that's what determines that constant balance of veterans and young players that you want on your team. Part of having that balance is not getting too old too fast or getting too young too soon is having good drafts where you can have some good young players come in. They may step in right away, they may have to sit a year."Pre-draft evaluations: Colbert says the less-coveted players have been seen by fewer NFL personnel. "We have as much information on those guys from an evaluation standpoint at least in rounds four and five," Colbert said. "The early guys, we probably have five looks at them between three scouts and two coaches. Second-day guys, sometimes it's two scouts and one coach. We have just as much medical and character information as on the first guys."Undrafted players: Colbert said the scramble for free agents begins as soon as the final pick is made. "It's a quick process," said Colbert, who said the Steelers begin by targeting the players they had on their board. "We call their agent and if he's indecisive, we move on to the next guy. Otherwise you might lose both of them."




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