Colbert the Prognosticator
Kevin Colbert enters his 17th year with the Steelers. Starting in 2000 as the director of football operations, Colbert ascended to the General Manager in 2010, reaching the summit – Vice President and General Manager in 2016. During that time the Steelers won Super Bowl XL (2005) and XLIII (2008), losing in their last appearance, Super Bowl XLV (2010).
Of course many factors play into the success or failure of a team – owners, coaches and players – but we focused on how the Steelers did in the draft to assess how well Colbert has done (acknowledging that he has a lot of help).
Winning the ring is the ultimate test of talent. Discounting New England’s runaway lead (5 Super Bowl victories in 7 attempts), the Steelers’ record during Colbert’s tenure is rivaled only by the NY Giants (also 2 wins in 3 appearances) and the Seattle Seahawks (1 win in 3 appearances). Pittsburgh is in rarified air.
You’ll see that the Steelers rank 5th in the league during Colbert’s tenure in choosing players who eventually are named All-Pros.
We also took a look at a number of internal stats (i.e., we just focused on the Steelers track record) to see how we’re trending. Looking at the number of draftees who make the team, the Steelers have been trending up in the last couple years, but honestly, they’ve been all over the map, so you’re not going to see a continually rising trend.
Our conclusion: The draft isn’t Moneyball. The process is fraught with humans: players whose ultimate ability to play in the NFL cannot be reduced to statistics. General managers and coaches are also subject to their own biases and blinders. The Steelers have proven one of the best though, at assessing and acquiring talent. Let’s hope for the best out of the 2017 draft class.