Though the Pittsburgh Steelers overall model remains the same, build through the draft, develop within, and retain, under new GM Omar Khan comes new people and new ideas. Speaking to reporters during this week’s League Meetings in Arizona, Khan said he was excited about the team’s new way of doing things, even if the foundational philosophy hasn’t changed.
“When we went to the Senior Bowl, we added some different things to how we looked at things.” Khan said, as written by Steelers.com’s Dale Lolley. “But we’ve had some great, fresh ideas from those guys.”
Last summer the Steelers saw their first significant front office turnover for the first time in essentially 20 years. The headliner was at the top, Khan replacing the retiring Kevin Colbert as GM with Andy Weidl being named the franchise’s first-ever assistant general manager. There were more changes below. Mark Sadowski, Sheldon White, and Casey Weidl were all hired while some front office members, like Dan Colbert and Dave Petett, received promotions and are no longer area scouts. Others like Brandon Hunt and Rick Reiprish left for different jobs or retired.
With new people comes new perspectives and a different way of doing things. Promoting Khan was a best of both worlds. Put in charge a man who has been in the Steelers’ building since Valentine’s Day of 2001, learned from the outgoing GM but still has a different way of doing things and will put his people in place. Khan has shown great humility and understanding that he doesn’t have to be the smartest in the room by leaning on those with strong football backgrounds like Weidl, Mike Tomlin, and hiring former players like Ike Taylor and Merril Hoge as position-specific scouts.
Keeping things private, Khan didn’t expand on what changes the team has made. He also told Lolley many things are “the same, very similar,” and it’s clear the Steelers aren’t making big and radical changes. But they could be leaning on analytics more, something Tomlin invoked when mentioning the new hire of Quality Control Coach Jason Brooks, and the scouting staff appears to be a bit larger and more broken up into specific roles.
Ultimately, results are all that matter. The Steelers must get back to their winning ways and continuing Tomlin’s non-losing season streak isn’t the goal. Pittsburgh must return to the postseason in 2022 and win a playoff game for it to feel like a successful season. While the roster has already been changed, the Steelers’ biggest chance to add to it comes in less than a month when the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off. Pittsburgh has the fortune of holding three picks in the Top 50, including at the top of the second round with the 32nd overall pick, prime real estate at the start of Day Two.