While I will definitely wait until I hear it from his mouth, there are numerous reports that Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert will step down following the 2022 NFL Draft. If it turns out to be true, it ends one of the longer runs for an NFL Executive as Colbert came over from Detroit in 2000.
This decision will have an immediate ripple effect on the organization. How does it affect the team’s approach to the draft? Who becomes the new GM? Could it be a combination of people that assume the role? Let’s dive in.
I have to believe that this strongly hints that the Steelers will not address the quarterback position early in the draft. Instead, they will look to rebuild their offensive line while also addressing the defensive line, inside linebacker and cornerback. Any time you have a new GM, that individual wants to have “their QB” in place, meaning someone that was drafted under their watch. Given the weak quarterback class for this draft I believe they find a free agent to compete with Mason Rudolph for 2022.
Who is Next in Line?
There’s no question that the odds on favorite here is Omar Khan. He has been the Steelers’ cap guru for many years and was very nearly the new GM for the Houston Texans until they pulled it out from under him. The question with Khan is whether or not the organization is comfortable with his ability to evaluate talent. You won’t find anyone who questions his abilities with money and math but player evaluation is a different animal.
The other internal candidate would be Brandon Hunt. He attended Pine-Richland High School in Pittsburgh and then attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Steelers Scouting Department in 2010. He is well-respected and highly thought of by both the Steelers and folks in the NFL in general.
Could This Happen?
The Steelers prior to 2010 never really had a “general manager” position. Prior to that, Colbert was the “Head of Football Operations.” Is it possible the organization offers Khan a position where he is primarily the numbers and contract guy while they let Hunt strictly handle the player evaluation side of things? My initial thought is “no” but stranger things have happened. We also have to consider the input of Mike Tomlin. His 15 years here have afforded him a voice of consideration at the very least.
Like any professional sports executive, Colbert has had his share of great moves and not so great moves. Overall however he’s been a very good GM and the pressure will be on anyone who fills his shoes to do as well.