This is Part Two of our series reviewing the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers. Part One was Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
The product you see on the field for 16 weeks begins in the offices of the Steelers and more specifically, in the office of General Manager Kevin Colbert.
Colbert joined the Steelers in 2000 and officially became their first-ever GM in 2010. While he didn’t necessarily carry the title, it was no secret that Colbert was given the task of being the top talent evaluator.
This was a position he held as the top scout for the Detroit Lions prior to coming to Pittsburgh. I’ve voiced my displeasure with Colbert’s drafts in recent years but this season he took it to a whole other level.
In terms of free agents, Colbert brought in Mike Mitchell to replace Ryan Clark. He also brought in Cam Thomas to replace Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood although Keisel would eventually come back after camp.
The other two major free agents acquired were receiver Lance Moore and linebacker Arthur Moats. I didn’t think Moats ever got the shot he deserved this past season and whether or not he stays on will depend on James Harrison and Jason Worilds.
As far as Moore, Mitchell and Thomas, these signings were tremendously disappointing. Thomas is gone for certain I have to believe as perhaps is Moore but Mitchell will likely get another shot.
The free agency period was obviously a failure for Colbert.
In terms of the draft, it’s always hard to evaluate after just one year but I’m going to go ahead anyway. First round pick Ryan Shazier never really got off the ground as he battled injuries. Second rounder Stephon Tuitt finally got his chance and I thought proved worthy of his selection.
Dri Archer has been horrible failure. I believe some of that had to do with poor play design and use, but overall he was far from worthy of his third round selection.
The gem of Colbert’s class has been fourth round pick Martavis Bryant who did not dress for the first six games and still caught eight touchdown passes and added another in the playoff game.
Cornerback Shaquille Richardson, linebacker Jordan Zumwalt and tight end Rob Blanchflower receive no grade because they never saw game action and fifth round pick Wesley Johnson was cut during the season.
Only nose tackle Daniel McCullers saw decent action as a late-round pick.
While the verdict to this class is a few years away yet, it’s mostly another blunder for Colbert. Most GM’s in the NFL would have received their walking papers for such a record of lousy drafts but the patient Rooney family is continuing to stand by Colbert.
If anyone needs a big draft in 2015, it’s Colbert.
Overall Grade: D
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game