One of the benefits of the Combine is having a chance to hear from many of the head coaches and general managers around the league and getting some perspective on various personnel issues. Each year Pittsburgh's Kevin Colbert is among the most insightful GMs when it comes to breaking down the draft and assessing his team's free agents.
On Tueday Colbert discussed several areas of the Combine but also was asked about some pending free agents for the Steelers. One player he touched on has been mentioned as a potential target for the Patriots once the new league year kicks off on March 16 – wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The oft-injured wideout has dealt with injuries over the last several seasons and was limited to just five games in 2021. Those health concerns have caused his production to drop as well, and last season he finished with just 15 catches for 129 yards and no touchdowns. That came after signing a one-year free agent deal to remain in Pittsburgh in 2021.
Colbert sounded open-minded on a potential return and applauded Smith-Schuster's willingness to return late last season despite his pending free agent status.
"JuJu did a great comeback from the shoulder injury that he suffered," Colbert said. "Much to our surprise, he was available to us late in the season as well as the playoff game. We commend him for doing that and putting his free agent thoughts aside and helping us win a playoff game. We take that into account. JuJu has been a great player for us."
Various national pundits have coupled Smith-Schuster's physical tough-minded approach to the Patriots as a potential free agent match. Based on Colbert's thoughts in Indy, perhaps he won't be available after all.