The Pittsburgh Steelers face some big decisions ahead for themselves during the 2022 NFL Draft. But they have an equally big one to continue to grapple with right after. That is when Kevin Colbert intends to step down as general manager, a role (if not title) that he has held for more than two decades.
The team has already conducted initial interviews with more than a dozen candidates, but intends to hold a second round of interviews for finalists after the draft before ultimately making a decision. That list has included a wide variety of individuals, including in-house options, names from other organizations, and those not affiliated with any team.
We have already heard a couple of different opinions about who the favorites might be at this time—and to be clear, since the Steelers intend to conduct additional interviews, they’re obviously not at a point where they’ve narrowed down to one person yet. Ed Bouchette offered his own thoughts to this topic for The Athletic in a recent mailbag segment:
They’ve interviewed 16 candidates, two internal and 14 from the outside, so it hasn’t been that quiet. They said they will hire one after the draft, which isn’t until the end of the month. My betting favorites are Andy Weidl of the Eagles and John Wojciechowski of the Packers, both Pittsburgh natives.
We’ve previously written about Weidl, who began his career with the Steelers. As for Wojciechowski, whose name would be an absolute bitch to have to learn to spell, he also got his start in Pittsburgh, working as an assistant player personnel man in 1996-97, during which time Tom Donahoe was the director of football operations (the equivalent of general manager). Weidl was Wojciechowski’s successor after he left for the Jaguars.
He spent nearly a decade and a half as a scout for the Jaguars and Cowboys before joining the Packers in 2012. He was promoted to director of pro player personnel in 2017, and then to co-director of player personnel in 2018.
Bouchette’s former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette colleague, Gerry Dulac, wrote earlier this month that he believes Weidl is the front-runner for the job. His current colleague at The Athletic, Mark Kaboly, seemed confident that it would be the most logical in-house option when all was said and done, Brandon Hunt.
But these are all, at best, educated guesses, because the search isn’t over yet. While they may not cast a wider net and zero in on the 16 candidates they have already interviewed with, the fact that they have said that they want to do a second round of interviews obviously suggests that there is still more work to be done before a decision can be reached.
After all, it is a momentous decision. Colbert’s fingerprints have been all over the past two decades of this organization, for better or for worse, and they would likely expect to hire a replacement who can also leave his imprint in a positive way, and for a long period of time, in that general managerial chair.