For Kevin Colbert’s final act as Pittsburgh Steelers’ GM, he may get to begin writing the post-Ben Roethlisberger chapter even as the team begins writing the post-Colbert book, too. Roethlisberger has retired with Colbert set to join him after April’s draft. But it’s giving Colbert a chance to find the team’s next starting quarterback, a scenario Colbert approaches with excitement, not fear.
Colbert spoke with KDKA’s Richie Walsh Tuesday and was asked if he felt pressure about finding Roethlisberger’s heir.
“Not really pressure, it’s exciting,” he told Walsh via KDKA’s YouTube channel. “Those challenges keep you going. And even though I may not be here for that this coming season, I wanna make sure that we make the best decisions for the 2022 Steelers. And I don’t wanna say it’s pressure because we enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s challenging but it’s fun. And we’ll just try to put together the best team we can.”
For the first time since 2004, the Steelers are spending the offseason searching for a franchise quarterback. In 2004, they had the benefit of picking higher in the draft, 11th overall, sitting back and watching the chaos that was the Eli Manning/Philip Rivers draft day story only to pick the top quarterback of the draft class. Holding the 20th pick this year makes acquiring that quarterback even tougher. In a weaker class, the challenge is raised all the more.
Colbert’s commentary is a similar sentiment as Mike Tomlin, who shared the same view when asked back in January.
“I’m excited about that challenge,” he at his year-end presser. “Those of us that are competitors are. It’s a challenge, man. It kinda makes you uneasy. But I’ve learned to run to those challenges. I’ve learned to appreciate those challenges. The uncertainty surrounding them is inspiring to me in terms of producing work.”
For Tomlin, it’ll be the first time he’s had to find a long-term option at quarterback since being hired by the Steelers. He arrived with the benefit few first-time head coaches get, a Super Bowl winning QB under center. It helped him quickly win another and compete in the AFC over the last 15 years. Now, the team is starting over from scratch.
Despite draftniks saying this isn’t a strong class, Colbert believes it has talent at the top.
“I think this class has quality in it, for sure. It may not have the number of players at this position. But there’s certainly quality players that will be NFL starters at some level in their career. We believe that firmly.”
Assuming Colbert is telling the truth, and he often does this time of year, it’ll be a matter of if the Steelers back up those words and in Colbert’s final draft, take a shot at a long-term option. If not, the team will look to try again in 2023 under a new general manager.