One of my favorite videos the Steelers’ website produces each year is their pre-draft production of the organization’s scouting process. It takes us behind the curtain of a critical aspect we don’t get much visibility to – scouting. It happens behind the scenes, on the road, in a film room, talking to strength and conditoning coaches, and trying to keep all the information close to the vest.
But these videos pull that curtain back and this year offered another good insight to how the team operates.
This year focused around area scout Mark Bruener and Pro Scouting Coordinator Brandon Hunt along with, as usual, Kevin Colbert. Team President Art Rooney II offers up some insight, too.
What’s most interesting – though all of it is – is the team giving an overview of how they grade a player and how the team reaches a final evaluation. In short, it comes from the team, no one individual, not even Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert.
“When we read the players, everybody gives their opinion,” Bruener told Missi Matthews. “Ultimately, the room grades the player.”
Those grades come in three forms, according to Hunt. An “A”, “B”, or “C.”
“For an ‘A’ player, you have three evaluations from three scouts, position coach, coordinator, and head coach,” Hunt said. “And then obviously the general manager Kevin Colbert is over the top on every one of those players. So you’ll have a minimum of six evaluations.”
At his press conference Monday, Colbert said the Steelers board contains 180 players, 125 of which he expects to get drafted. In the video on the site, he referred to these as “Steelers grades.”
“Once we make a decision on a grade, no matter if you didn’t agree with where that final grade was or not, it doesn’t matter. At that point, it’s a Steelers grade and that’s where we’re going to proceed from that. That foundation was laid long ago with Art Rooney Jr. and Coach Noll.”
I don’t think any of this come as an absolute shock but it’s nice to hear about their grading process and potential first round picks, those who earn what I assume is a rare “A” grade. And those that do go through an extreme vetting process. It’s part of what has made Pittsburgh one of the top teams in hitting on their first round picks in the Colbert era.