Although it was never the focal point of his job with the Pittsburgh Steelers, new general manager Omar Khan often gets falsely pigeonholed as a ‘numbers’ guy, a ‘cap’ guy, or a ‘contract’ guy. Yet in spite of that fact, the organization still felt they would be best served by adding Andy Weidl and his personnel expertise to the front office.
Exactly what that entails they themselves are still finding out, but we have some idea of what his priorities, preferences, and processes are. We have been told through multiple sources at this point that Weidl will be asked to set the team’s draft board, something that he did in Philadelphia as well for general manager Howie Roseman.
But how does he set the board? Apparently, it’s a little different from the way the Steelers have done it in the past. At least that’s what Mark Kaboly wrote for The Athletic recently while taking a stab at a mock draft earlier this month.
“Weidl doesn’t break down his scouting with a grade based on what round a player belongs in but rather based on the player’s projected role — Day 1 starter, starter potential, role player, etc.”, he wrote. “That could present a different look to the draft this year”.
We know without question that that’s how the Steelers did it under general manager Kevin Colbert, because he has referred numerous times to having had an x-round grade on a draft pick before. But the team’s personal ‘round’ grades of prospects never actually align with how the board actually plays out, so it’s not uncommon for a team to be able to draft a player in the sixth round they might have graded as a third-rounder.
But how does this change anything on a practical level? Even if they don’t assign rounds by grade, there is still a multi-tiered hierarchy by which players are judged, and they will all be lined up within their respective hierarchies.
Obviously, this is a question that Weidl would be able to answer better than I could, as to why he doesn’t grade by round. Hypothetical reasons are obvious, but what his specific reasons are would be known only to himself.
One thing it functions as is shorthand. A ‘starter’ at one position in a late round might not be a starter at another position, and you might then prioritize the player who you feel has the potential to develop into a starter rather than simply comparing the round.
I can’t help but wonder how much we’ll get to hear from Weidl during this period and how open he will be about these things. We’re in a new chapter in Pittsburgh personnel, and he is going to help define at least the start of that chapter.