The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How much of an advantage might the Steelers have over other teams during this draft due to the consistency of their scouting staff?
The 2020 NFL offseason is proving to be different from any other, and for very obvious reasons. We have already seen the coronavirus affect numerous aspects. While it did not delay free agency, it did influence how it was conducted, and how decisions were made.
It’s also not expected to move the draft, but it’s completely changing how it’s functioning. The NFL announced yesterday that all teams must conduct the draft from remote locations rather than from any facilities, which had previously been debated. The Steelers specifically are hopeful of having at least a skeleton-crew draft room.
Instead, it will be Kevin Colbert sitting at home in his sweatpants on Skype with Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II, perhaps, calling in the picks as they become relevant. Of course, they’ll almost surely have to wait until Day Two, since they have no first-round pick.
The idea that they could be a bit ahead of the curve, in relative terms, has been bandied about. No team in the NFL has the stability of personnel that the Steelers do in their chain of command of their scouting department, from Colbert all the way down to the regional scouts.
In other words, they all know how one another works and know how to communicate effectively. They’ve been through the draft-day experience numerous times. Many teams will be going into this process with new coaches, new general managers, new scouts. They will not have even seen each other much face-to-face at this point because of social distancing ordinances put in place.