Perhaps this time next month, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be narrowing their search for their next general manager, if not having already named him. They have cast a pretty wide net in their search, having already done preliminary interviews with more than a dozen candidates, but there hasn’t been much insight into what direction they may be looking at.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently commented on the general manager role, indicating that he believes Andy Weidl from the Philadelphia Eagles could be classified as the frontrunner for the job at the moment. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic offered another spin recently, suggesting that the most likely candidate remains a familiar one:
They have interviewed 16 people, but don’t get overwhelmed by that number. It’s a unique opportunity to be able to pick the brain of 16 very smart individuals, whether they are personnel people like Kevin Colbert or a numbers guy like Howie Roseman in Philadelphia. And it’s smart. You have that opportunity, so why not take advantage of it?
But it has always been about two people — Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt. It is somewhat easy to figure out what the Steelers want to do across their organization from time to time, because they’ve done it in the past. And what have they done with the GM? A local guy with local ties, who is a heavy personnel guy. That’s Hunt. Now, Khan will get some kind of title I am sure, whether it is assistant GM or something of that nature, but Hunt is the front-runner.
This comment was in response to a mailbag question that asked him to handicap the race for the general manager job. Kaboly’s answer doesn’t really betray any indications that he has any direct knowledge of what the Steelers are thinking right now, though, but is rather more of the ‘reading the tea leaves’ variety.
For what it’s worth, Brandon Hunt, their Pro Scouting Coordinator, has probably been viewed as the ‘favorite’ throughout the entire process. Outside of the sheer number of candidates that they have interviewed for the job, nothing has seemed to contradict that assumption.
In fact, Hunt has been a lot more visible on the Pro Day circuit this year, undoubtedly to give the team a sense of how comfortable he is on the road in that college environment. The Pro Day rounds between Tomlin and Colbert have been an offseason fixture for a long time, and obviously they would expect their next general manager to be able to handle that upfront, boots-on-the-ground responsibility.
The Steelers have been patient with this process, needless to say. They won’t even begin the round of follow-up interviews until after the draft, so it could still even be a while afterward before we get an announcement. But I don’t think anybody would be surprised to read Hunt’s name next to the general manager title.