In the event of Steelers GM Kevin Colbert receiving an extension, we rank some of his best draft picks since his arrival in 2000.
The story of Steelers GM Kevin Colbert continues as team president Art Rooney II extended Colbert an additional year through 2021, as reported by the Steelers. Already a giant to the gridiron upon his arrival, the mantra of the Steelers has been upheld in good regards since Colbert took over as Director of Football Operations in 2000.
An expedition that has prolonged itself for 20+ years, the turned GM has been apart of two Super Bowl victories, 3 conference championships, 9 division championships, & 12 playoff appearances. Attributed to much of the hardware success, the players that have stamped their place in NFL history under Colbert are an astounding group to be recognized.
Although the respect runs deep among the teammates to be listed, who could point at themselves & said they did it better? The draft is merely 2+ months away & we take a look at who has been the five best players to be drafted under Colbert’s tenure.
The Gold Jacket. An undeniable honor & praise everlasting, nothing is deemed higher in thanking one player’s illustrious career. Wafting the eyes of many through memorable speeches & unforgettable moments to be among the greatest, Troy Polamalu is next in line to receive his.
The first-ballot, Hall of Famer is arguably not only the greatest Steeler, but the best to ever play his position. A captain & leader, the 5’10 strong safety overcame a list of odds to prove that heart can triumph anything.
Although Polamalu would be a first-round pick in 2003, the doubts added up that even deluded the Steelers at one point. As Colbert & former head coach Bill Cowher pounded the table for Polamalu, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette writes that Colbert said, “We never thought he was going to be a failure, but there was a point in time where we were a little concerned that maybe it wasn’t happening as quickly as it could”.
Without an appearance as a rookie, the journey shot off to a blazing start in year two as Polamalu would record a career-high 97 combined tackles, then 5 interceptions, 14 pass deflections, 1 pick-six, 1 forced fumble, & one sack to earn his first Pro-Bowl selection in his NFL career.
QB Ben Roethlisberger even felt his presence in practice as Cowher explained that Ben would say ”Jeez, can you just tell that guy to quit doing it?”. Relentless & grateful for every second he graced, its what made him so legendary. Cowher continued:
“I’m like, ‘Hey listen, this is part of what happens sometimes on Sunday. You’re going to find players like Troy,’ but then you get to Sunday and you really didn’t. There really weren’t any players like Troy, so I understand Ben’s frustration at times.”
2 Super-Bowls, 8 Pro-Bowls, 4 first-team All-Pros & a 2010 DPOY selection later, Polamalu pressed play for all fans to enjoy a highlight reel filled with devastating hits, diving efforts either over the line of scrimmage or on the backend, and a slew of crucial stops from a dominating intelligence that put fear into all offenses to go against.
Much can be detailed & recapped for the 12 years Polamalu provided in the NFL as a Steeler, but the icon grew to historic status as his hair did. Now solidified in its lineage, Polamalu ranks first for players that were drafted under Colbert.