Art Rooney may have shown his cards for Pittsburgh Steelers draft plans
Steelers president Art Rooney II recently spoke to the media. Here’s why his responses may have tipped us to where Pittsburgh could be headed in the 2023 NFL Draft.
It’s safe to say that the top heads in the organization are pleased with the way that the Pittsburgh Steelers closed out the 2022 season (this was made evident by the return of Matt Canada for the 2023 season). After a dismal 2-6 start, Mike Tomlin’s team salvaged things with a 7-2 record following the Week 9 bye.
As he does every year, Art Rooney II addressed the media during a post-season wrap-up. Rooney addressed a number of topics, but when asked about things he would like to see take another step forward next year, he responded with, “Score more points.” Here’s some of what he had to say, according to Noah Strakbein of All Steelers:
"“I think that we did get better as the season went on, and that’s encouraging. But we’re not going to say we can’t improve. I mean, we’re going to look for ways to improve. I think overall, consistency is something we could do better with. We had some guys that were a little inconsistent, and we’ve got to do better in that regard.”"
This could nothing at all or just Rooney’s attempt to humor us, but I wouldn’t be so quick to brush it off. In past seasons during his post-season wrap-up media sessions, Rooney has made statements that tipped his hand as to what the Pittsburgh Steelers would later address in the NFL Draft.
Art Rooney’s statement suggests Steelers could go offense early in NFL Draft
There is no exact science to this, but let’s go back in time for a minute to the 2021 offseason. After a dismal year with no success on the ground, Mr. Rooney was adamant that the Steelers needed to get better at running the football and stated, “there’s more to come.” So what did Pittsburgh do in the 2021 NFL Draft? They selected Najee Harris with the 24th overall pick.
Following the 2021 season, Rooney’s focus was on finding a quarterback. Pittsburgh proceeded by signing Mitch Trubisky to good money in free agency while Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin spent their whole time on the scouting trail visiting with the top QB prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. They would obviously go on to select Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick last year.
Sure, Rooney’s statements during the media session don’t guarantee anything. But if the past few years are any indication, the Steelers president has made it clear that his team needs to ‘score more points.’ This could come in the form of an offensive lineman or even a wide receiver in the first round.
What makes this difficult to project is that the Steelers have new heads in the front office with general manager Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl. It’s possible that they could have a different way of doing business than what we’ve seen from Kevin Colbert in the past.
Still, to say that the Steelers owner and president don’t have ample say is just naive. Tomlin is going to want to take the team in a direction that pleases Art Rooney II. This post-season media wrap-up may have given us early insight as to which side of the football Pittsburgh plans to address with their top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.