Rotoworld always posts an insightful ranking of all 32 NFL general managers each year. And each year, Kevin Colbert climbs the list. This year, he comes in at #2 in Patrick Daugherty’s latest edition.
On Colbert, he writes:
“When I first started this exercise in 2014, Kevin Colbert was at a low ebb. In salary cap hell and featuring fewer impact players than usual, his teams were coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons. Everything that has happened since has served to reinforce the long view: Colbert is an elite general manager. Despite those lean times earlier this decade, Colbert’s rosters have gone 188-99-1 since he first came onto the scene in 2000. They have won two Super Bowls and reached a third.”
Someone may have finally had an intervention with Daugherty. Just last year, he ranked Colbert nearly middle-of-the-pack in 13th place (behind Cincy’s Mike Brown…ew), critical that the team was riding Ben Roethlisberger’s coat tails and hadn’t developed enough draft picks. Here’s what he wrote then.
“At some point, Colbert is going to need one of his Cameron Heyward/Jarvis Jones/Ryan Shazier/Bud Duprees to actually be a star. Colbert has maximized his Big Ben leeway. It’s time to start working on another plan.”
This year, finally seeing the light, it’s a different tune.
“Where Colbert’s early-decade squads were aging and top heavy, his most recent have been deep and dynamic. Colbert has found talent everywhere, from Day 1 of the draft (T.J. Watt, David DeCastro), Day 2 (JuJu Smith-Schuster, Stephon Tuitt) and beyond (Ali Villanueva, Antonio Brown).”
Two of those names listed came from the 2017 draft class but that’s quite a change of heart after one rookie class, especially for someone with Colbert’s tenure.
He only finishes behind, of course, Bill Belichick.
Regardless of why Colbert moved up so far after an objectively disappointing finish to the season, putting him in the top five is the right move. Few teams have had the Steelers consistency, stability, and success, a culture of course created by the Rooney family but furthered by the Pittsburgh-native Colbert.
Last month, NFL.com also ranked Colbert the league’s 2nd best GM, also behind Belichick.
For the Rotoworld edition, the Eagles’ Howie Roseman, Falcons’ Thomas Dimitroff, and Ravens’ Ozzie Newsome round out the top 5. Newsome is retiring after the season.
Bringing up the rear was Miami’s Mike Tannebaum, panned for questionable trades and free agency decisions.