Senior Bowl Potential Stepping Stone For Coaches Like Steelers’ Grady Brown

The Senior Bowl kicked off in Mobile, Alabama this morning with a press conference from Executive Director Jim Nagy.

The Senior Bowl has long been known as the premier all-star game for college prospects that have fulfilled their education requirements and are making the transition to the NFL. Nagy had a “mic drop” of sorts when questioned about other games such as the NFLPA Bowl and East-West Shrine Game “nipping at the heels” of the Senior Bowl, “Well, I don’t see it that they’re nipping our heels” Nagy started, “the Senior Bowl’s been great forever. We’ve had 181 first-round picks since the year 2000. 181 first-round picks. No other game has one. So the game’s been great forever.”

The college talent is evident through the names and numbers of guys that have come through Mobile, but now, after a call from the NFL league office in June, the Senior Bowl will be transitioning to being a showcase of young NFL coaching talent.

This is the first year that the game has not had the individual NFL team’s coaching staffs lead the two squads. Usually, the staff is selected from teams picking toward the top end of the draft. Last year, for example, the National Team was led by the New York Jets while the American Team was led by the Detroit Lions respective coaching staffs.

However, this year guys have been hand-selected at each position group spanning 15 different NFL teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the 15 teams represented with Defensive Backs Coach Grady Brown working as the National Team’s Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Outside Linebackers Coach Denzel Martin coaching up the National Team’s linebackers.

While Nagy mentioned it’s not a move that the Senior Bowl would have made on their own, he’s embracing the change, “it’s a great opportunity for them because not only are the eyeballs of these key decision makers on the players, it’s also on those guys [the coaches].”

Nagy went on to say that he expected some of these coaches to reach the pinnacle of coaching in the near future, “Roman Oben [NFL Vice President of Football Development] was down here at the dinner, and he made the comment, there’s gonna be three, four, five head coaches come out out of this dinner here in the next four or five years.”

This adds an extra layer to the Senior Bowl week for everyone as some new names get their opportunities to shine in leadership roles in front of key decision-makers across the league.

For the Steelers, if either Brown or Martin makes the jump to head coach in the next “four to five years” it could mean extra compensatory picks under the league’s rule implemented in 2020 that rewards teams for helping develop minority coaches and executives. The rule states that if a team employs a minority that is hired for a head coach position the former team receives third-round compensatory picks in the following two drafts.

Right now, Grady Brown would be the most likely candidate for Pittsburgh to make the jump. He will be entering his third season leading the Steelers’ secondary and is building a strong resume for himself after a year where the team was tied for the league lead in interceptions with 20 and having a hand in the development of players coming off solid years like Cam Sutton, Terrell Edmunds, and James Pierre.

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