PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers made a bunch of changes to their front office ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The most notable of those was general manager Omar Khan taking over for Kevin Colbert. But the team also brought in three news senior advisors for Khan in assistant general manager Andy Weidl, director of pro scouting Sheldon White and director of player scouting Mark Sadowkski.
That made for a lot of new voices in the Steelers draft room, but everything seemed to go of without a hitch, with the team’s draft haul being lauded for being one of the best in the NFL.
Weidl said that process started with open communication from Mike Tomlin about exactly what he was looking for.
“It’s so transparent here and the communication daily is fluid,” Weidl said. “You just listen. We sat down with Coach (Tomlin) when we got in here last year for mini-camp and just had him go through what he looks for in a player, what he wants in a player. All the scouts were in there. I was in there. We just asked him to do that so we were all on the same page, so when you go out and you are scouting in the fall, you’ve got it. You’ve got the orders of what they’re looking for. Part of scouting is knowing what you are looking at and knowing what you are looking for.”
From there, Tomlin is one of the most involved coaches in the league in the day-to-day process of scouting and draft prep, so that made things easy for the new staff to be on the same page.
“It was a real joy to work with Mike and Omar in this and the conversations and the process. Mike was there at every meeting we had in February and through April and the Senior Bowl. He loves the process. He loves football. He loves scouting. He loves hearing about it. He loves being in on it. It’s awesome. It’s awesome because we’re there. There’s no guessing. We hear the conversations. We have the conversations. We watch the players. You take them through the process.
“As you start the process, it’s a nine-month process, it’s a wide vast of players. As you go through it, you tend to narrow the scope on your targets. To go through it together for the first time, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of work. And just to have those kind of conversations of what’s best for the Pittsburgh Steelers and try to identify Pittsburgh Steelers that are going to come and add to our culture was exciting.”
Weidl said they didn’t always agree about every player on the draft board, but that open communication allowed everything to come together the way it’s supposed to.
“I think not everyone is going to see a player the same, right?” Weidl said. “You go through the process. You talk it out. Hey, I saw this guy this way. You might have seen this player a different way. Why? Talk it out. …
“You get to a comfort level with the person, with the player ultimately. It’s just keeping an open mind, being a great listener. One of the things, you’ve got to be able to listen to your scouts. You need to listen to your scouts and the people because they know these players better than anybody, right? They go into the schools. They go multiple times and might see them live at a game. They have the contacts there. They’ve worked their contacts to extract information. At the end of the day, you want to be a great listener and hear everybody’s opinion. I think Omar did a fabulous job of that, and Mike. It was awesome being a part of this process.”