Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) warms up before an AFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers GM getting close look at 2022 QB class

In Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins we trust.

This has been the company line since the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger left the Pittsburgh Steelers in a relative no-man’s land at quarterback.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine there are starting-caliber quarterbacks available in the 2022 NFL Draft. But he also said the Steelers aren’t fretting the potential reality of playing the veterans on the roster.

Colbert witnessed multiple games played by Field Level Media’s top-ranked quarterback in the draft, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett. The team also spent time at the Senior Bowl with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis.

There are also veteran free agents who could be available, or trade targets at the position, whom the Steelers are vetting.

“We won’t narrow it to any one place, never have, never will,” Colbert said Tuesday in Indianapolis. “Quarterback is obviously a huge position in any given season, especially this season with our Hall of Fame quarterback calling it a career. Is it different this year? Yes. Is it going to change how we approach things? No. We have two vets in Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins who have started NFL games … and they’ve won games. We think we have two capable NFL quarterbacks. How we’ll add to that I can’t say.”

Beyond the quarterback position, a number of roster-build scenarios could play out for Pittsburgh, depending on the results of free agency. One of the team’s priorities has been to engage JuJu Smith-Schuster, who returned to the team in 2021 on a one-year deal.

“JuJu did a great comeback from the shoulder injury that he suffered,” Colbert said. “Much to our surprise, he was available to us late in the season as well as the playoff game. We commend him for doing that and putting his free agent thoughts aside and helping us win a playoff game. We take that into account. JuJu has been a great player for us.”

Colbert said he didn’t pause before endorsing the addition of Brian Flores to the coaching staff. Flores has a pending lawsuit against the NFL. Colbert said the litigation wasn’t a factor, but Flores’ resume was.

“Brian Flores has been a successful NFL head coach and defensive coordinator, and I was excited to have him,” he said. “As I mentioned to coach Flores when he first came into the office, I really like his background because he started out on the personnel (side).”

–Field Level Media

Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert speaks during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert stepping down after NFL draft

Changes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers will continue, with general manager Kevin Colbert is stepping down after the 2022 NFL Draft, owner Art Rooney II said Friday.

Colbert, 65, has been general manager since 2010 and has spent 22 seasons with the organization. Pittsburgh won two Super Bowls during Colbert’s time with the Steelers and the team went 123-68-2 since he became GM.

“We have left the door open, Kevin and I, to possibly have him fill an ongoing role after the draft,” Rooney told reporters. “We will be conducting a search for a new GM starting immediately. Probably won’t make a hire until after the draft. We will be interviewing people. We’ve already interviewed two of our in-house candidates: Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt.”

Khan is Pittsburgh’s vice president of football and business administration, while Hunt is the team’s pro scouting coordinator.

Rooney said that coach Mike Tomlin’s role won’t change. The 2022 campaign will be Tomlin’s 16th at the helm.

“I don’t expect to make dramatic changes in terms of those responsibilities, coach versus GM,” Rooney said. “I think it’s worked well, and we’re not really trying to make a big change there.”

Over the next few months, Colbert will be working with Tomlin to find a new starting quarterback after the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.

In-house candidates Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are possibilities but the Steelers will pursue finding one via trade, free agency or the draft.

“You have to take advantage of whatever opportunity you have to get the best quarterback you can find,” Rooney said. “And you don’t always have the luxury of saying, ‘I want A, B and C and go to the grocery store and order a quarterback.’ We’ll evaluate all the options we have.

“Certainly, mobile quarterbacks are the wave of the future, and having mobility at that position is something that would be desirable. The other thing that’s desirable is somebody that can read a defense and complete a pass downfield. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that you have to put together, and you don’t always get someone that meets every criteria you might want. You just have to get the best player, plug them in, put the best players around them and try to put everybody in position to be successful.”

–Field Level Media