INDIANAPOLIS -- There has already been plenty of praise for the class of prospects available for the 2014 NFL Draft, but respected Steelers GM Kevin Colbert took the rave reviews to a new level in his press conference Thursday morning when he was asked about the group of players in Indy working out this week.
"This is the best draft…I've been doing this for 30 years and this is the deepest draft that I've ever seen," Colbert said. "We felt that way even before, I wouldn't say it was deepest draft before the underclassmen came in, but even during the fall our scouts were talking that the senior class was a pretty good class. And you don't know what the junior class will be. The juniors added into it make it a very talented group."
But that group of underclassmen, a record of more than 100 such players and nearly double the size of the group from just a couple years ago, also brings a lot of inexperienced and immature players to the NFL all at once.
"The one thing we talk about with these juniors or any of the underclassmen, we are very cautiously optimistic about their emotional and physical readiness for this," Colbert continued. "This is a huge jump. Even though it's a more talented group, or the most talented group I've seen, it's probably the most immature group. We have to be prepared for more player development type programs or maybe enhancing your player development services to get the most out of these younger players."
Because, Colbert says, dealing with a player's mental development in the early stages of a pro career is probably even more important than the physical side.
"If you fail emotionally early it can be overwhelming and sometimes career ending."
But from just a pure talent standpoint, it's becoming quite clear that the 2014 draft offers up a ton of talent for NFL teams to sift through, regardless of what positions each franchise might be looking to address.
"You look across the board and I can't see a position where there isn't more depth than there has ever been. It's exciting when you are picking players out of this group," Colbert concluded.