Steelers general manager should have been hired before drafting a QB

Omar Khan, Director of Football and Business Administration for the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Omar Khan, Director of Football and Business Administration for the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

The Steelers are in the process of finalizing their new general manager, but here’s why Kevin Colbert’s replacement should have had a hand in drafting the next QB.

I don’t have a lot of complaints about the way the Pittsburgh Steelers went about their business during the 2022 offseason. Sure, I didn’t love the idea of taking Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick as all five of the top quarterbacks were still on the board, but for the most part, I think they had a strong offseason.

However, there is one decision I have a hard time wrapping my head around: selecting a quarterback before having their next general manager in place. This seemed backward to me.

Since the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers have promoted Omar Khan to GM and hired former Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel, Andy Weidl, as their assistant GM. Though I hope doing things this way works out, I think they should have done things in reverse order.

For the past year, the Steelers knew this was going to be Kevin Colbert’s last offseason as general manager, but I think they waited too long into the offseason to begin their search for the next guy to fill his shoes.

Ideally, this is a decision they should have made at the beginning of the offseason. If they had done so, the new general manager would have had a hand in setting up the team for success in the future and would have had a say in who the team signed in free agency this offseason.

More importantly, the new general manager could have shared his input and made important decisions in the NFL Draft.

Steelers should have hired a new GM before drafting a new QB

It’s not that I don’t trust Kevin Colbert. The long-time GM has had a brilliant career with the Pittsburgh Steelers over the past two decades. However, it would have made more sense for the next GM to be involved during the pre-draft process.

This is especially true now that the Steelers elected to draft a quarterback with the 20th overall pick. Now the new GM and assistant GM don’t have a choice: they must really like Kenny Pickett and be destined to make him work (the team doesn’t have a choice otherwise).

This should have been the other way around. Pittsburgh should have hired its next general manager and allowed him to have a hand in the decision-making process. Now if Pickett doesn’t look like the answer for the Steelers, somebody will have to go.

Typically, new management comes with a number of changes — both in the front office and on the roster. Khan and Weidl will want guys who fit what they intend to do and who are a piece of the puzzle to what they want to accomplish.

In reality, however, we know that the Steelers were never going to hire someone that head coach Mike Tomlin was not on board with. Moving forward, I would expect Tomlin to have an even larger role when it comes to matters of the front office — despite hiring both Omar Khan and Andy Weidl recently.

This isn’t necessarily a good thing. As great of a head coach as Bill Belichick has been, he’s been equally bad as the team’s general manager, and his draft history is pretty depressing.

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At the end of the day, I really think it would have been wise for the Pittsburgh Steelers to have their next general manager before they made the big investment into a franchise quarterback. Now we need to hope that the next GM can make it work with a quarterback he didn’t bring in.