With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Brandon Hunt should be the Steelers’ next general manager.
Explanation: While the Steelers have interviewed 16 people for the general manager role as Kevin Colbert steps down, two of those interviews were with in-house candidates, including Brandon Hunt, the team’s Pro Scouting Coordinator.
The Steelers are all about consistency. Why top that now? Brandon Hunt has been waiting in the wings for years now. He was here to learn under not just Kevin Colbert, but Bill Nunn. He knows the Steelers Way as well as just about anybody in that building at this point, yet at the same time, there’s no reason to think he’ll be afraid to adopt new patterns.
The succession planned worked in Baltimore. Eric DeCosta learned under Ozzie Newsome for a number of years, and while he retains most of the same principles, he hasn’t been afraid to be his own general manager, either, taking some things in a new direction. And the team continues to be widely praised for their roster-building and maneuvering.
It’s basically an identical model for the Steelers with Colbert and Hunt, or at least a close enough approximation for it to be negligible. Few teams have drafted as well as the Steelers have in the past couple of decades, and Hunt has been involved in that, as you’ve noticed him on the Pro Day circuit.
Colbert wasn’t an in-house promotion. Mike Tomlin wasn’t an in-house promotion. Bill Cowher before him wasn’t an in-house promotion, either. Sure, some of them may have had some local ties, but they didn’t come through the Steelers’ system. They identified the right man for the job wherever he was from.
Pittsburgh interviewed a number of worthy candidates from outside the organization, including some who have already had experience in that role. And it’s a new era. It’s time for a change. The Steelers’ patterns have become too safe, too predictable, and this past draft was no different.