INDIANAPOLIS – While Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert believes the 2014 NFL Draft class is one of the deepest he’s seen in recent history, it “almost might be the most immature” group he’s studied over his 30 years in NFL. He let the football world hear his thoughts on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"Experience has told us that a lot of these younger players aren’t ready for this," Colbert said. "It’s a huge leap. I don’t think a lot of them understand that until they actually get on a playing field and see the increase in the quality of play."
With a record 102 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft, some of those players won’t be able to keep up with the demands of the NFL.
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Colbert may have been speaking in generalities of Jarvis Jones, who came out a year early last year. The Steelers selected Jones with a first-round pick in 2013 and the 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker struggled in defensive coordinator’s Dick LeBeau’s system his rookie year.
"We have to be prepared for more player development-type programs or maybe enhancing your player development so as to get the most out of these younger players."
Colbert also noted that interviews during the NFL Combine process are extremely important to a player’s draft stock, but making a decision comes down to how they play on tape.
“You still have to go with what you see when they play,” Colbert said. “Trust your evaluations, don’t get all caught up with all the buzz. Hype’s great, it helps make our sport what it is but you try to remove that emotion.”