Assistant GM Andy Weidl Describes What A Pittsburgh Steeler Looks Like

In Pittsburgh, you hear it all the time. This is what a Pittsburgh Steeler looks like. Heck, even Vince Williams recently shared the story on Cam Heyward’s podcast that Pittsburgh didn’t really talk to him in the pre-draft process because Kevin Colbert told Williams they already knew he was a Steeler.

Which begs the question: What exactly is a Steeler? Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, Pittsburgh Assistant GM Andy Weidl answered that question. 

“Our kind of guys, Steelers,” Weidl said as tweeted out by The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Joe Rutter. “Physical, tough, love football, high-character guys, high-football character players. Guys who are resilient. They can handle it. They can come back from a setback and they just have a fortitude. They’re strong-willed, they’re tough on others’ players and people.”

It sounds like a lot of commonplace football clichés and none of that appears unique to Pittsburgh. No team goes looking for low-character and not tough players. But they’re values that Weidl has held for some time. Last summer, we put together our “Big Book Of Andy Weidl” that followed his football history and the thing he looks for in players. Near the top of the list was mental toughness. Much of that comes from the late great Steelers scout Bill Nunn. Here’s what we wrote in last year’s article.

“Nunn’s advice, which Weidl still mentions today, was to find out how a player handles criticism. Their mental toughness and ability to rise to the moment or bounce back from a tough play or performance.”

And later in the article, we again referenced how much Weidl prioritizes mental toughness.

“He also wants guys who love the game, someone who has a passion for it. “Tough, smart, thick-skin, and mentally strong” are the words he’s used to describe players who fit his culture.”

Comments like that track with what Weidl told reporters today. And it’s reflective in the Steelers’ 2023 draft class. Be it Broderick Jones losing his father at a young age and biding his time at a big-time Georgia program instead of transferring or Joey Porter Jr. handling being in his father’s shadow, or Keeanu Benton playing through injury, or Cory Trice Jr. being incredibly mature and disciplined, mental toughness is displayed throughout their group of seven picks. As is character. You’ll struggle to find a negative comment about any of the seven players Steelers drafted last weekend. That continues with what Kevin Colbert held in high regard, especially with his last batch of classes.

Of course, Weidl loves physicality and guys who physically impose their will on the field. A former offensive guard himself, he loves the trenches and Pittsburgh has built its team with that in mind this year, drafting an offensive lineman in the first round since 1996. The Steelers have a clear plan that runs counter to the top teams in the NFL. Physicality, ball control, keeping those explosive opposing offenses off the field.

As noted by’s Mike Prisuta, Weidl also noted the youth and upside of the class. 

“I think most of our players are under the age of 22. (First-round pick) Broderick (Jones) is gonna be 22 in 11 days. It’s a young class…where they are now as opposed to where they’re gonna be at 24, 25 is exciting.”

While some wondered how much input Weidl would have on the Steelers’ picks, setting the draft board but not one of the “Big Three” decision-makers (that goes to Omar Khan, Mike Tomlin, and Art Rooney II), his fingerprints are all over the 2023 offseason. From signing three former Eagles offensive linemen to the approach to the draft, Weidl’s mark has been made on this roster.

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