Some high praise for Pittsburgh Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert in Rotoworld’s most recent general manager rankings. Writer Patrick Daugherty ranked the Steelers’ GM as the second best in the NFL, trailing only (obviously) Bill Belichick.
On Colbert, Daugherty wrote:
“Kevin Colbert has been getting the big things right for his entire two-decade run as general manager…Arguably the league’s keenest eye for high-end defensive talent and wide receiver gems, Colbert’s loaded roster has upside to spare. It is lacking a first-round rookie after last year’s aggressive acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, though Fitzpatrick is still only 23 years old.”
Colbert has been one of the longest tenured and most successful GMs over the past decades, winning two Super Bowls and going to a third while running the team. He’s technically the first person in organization history to be given the title of “General Manager,” a change from “Director Of Football Operations” in 2011.
As Daugherty noted, Colbert has turned this defense into one of the tops in football in relatively short order, finally fixing the secondary after years and years of missed draft picks (which falls on Colbert, to be clear). The Steelers have become one of the NFL’s gold-standard organizations. Both in on-field success and how they run things in the front office, stability and continuity that’s almost unrivaled by any other organization in any of the major sports.
However, Daugherty cautioned one key area of concern for Colbert and the Steelers, one repeated by virtually every national outlet during the offseason.
“It was a little thing that tripped him up in 2019: Backup QB. The lack of a Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater undermined an otherwise heroic playoff pursuit. That glaring hole remains for 2020 as 38-year-old Ben Roethlisberger returns from an injury to his throwing arm.”
Ah yes, the #2 QB dilemma. The Steelers weren’t going to sign a veteran this offseason, Mike Tomlin said as much as soon as the season ended, but that doesn’t mean the front office becomes immune from criticism. If Mason Rudolph doesn’t pan out, fails to play better, and the Steelers falter again because they lacked a backup plan, there will be rightful criticism towards Colbert. They’re taking a risk on Rudolph and hoping Ben Roethlisberger stays on the field.
Still, the Steelers have one of football’s more talented rosters and again are threats to win their division and make a Super Bowl run. Not something most teams can say year-in, year-out.
Among best GMs, the Chiefs’ Brett Veach, Eagles’ Howie Roseman, and Saints’ Mickey Loomis rounded out the top five. The Lions’ Bob Quinn came in dead last on his list, which you can again check out here.