The Pittsburgh Steelers just completed their final NFL draft with Kevin Colbert as GM. Colbert is retiring after 21 years in the organization and the last 11 as GM.
That, along with franchise stalwart Ben Roethlisberger retiring, leaves two big holes in one of the most well-run organizations in the league. Colbert drafted what the Steelers and their fans hope is the successor to Big Ben when they took Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall selection of the draft.
That now leaves Colbert’s position needing to be filled. One candidate for the job is Pittsburgh University alum Louis Riddick, who interviewed once for the job at the NFL Combine, and it’s rumored he’s getting a second interview. A second interview is usually a positive sign that the candidate is a strong front-runner for the job.
Call him Dr. Louis Riddick now 🎓@PittChancellor today presented an honorary doctorate to @LRiddickESPN at Pitt’s Class of 2022 commencement.
Well deserved for a Proud Pitt Man! #H2P » @PittTweet pic.twitter.com/H209PaKuTK
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) May 1, 2022
The very well-respected Riddick was a bit mum on the Steelers draft choices during his NFL draft coverage, often deferring to his ESPN colleagues.
He talked about that in a post-draft interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“It’s funny, I tried not to concentrate on their draft too much,” Riddick said. “Because I didn’t want anyone going, ‘Ah, look at him, I see what he’s trying to do.’”
Back in February, TSL reported on Riddick being a leading candidate for the Steelers GM job.
Louis Riddick Leaving The ESPN Booth For Pittsburgh Steelers GM Gig? |”It’s Always Been A Career Goal Of Mine”
With Colbert now out of the picture, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will play a role in who lands the coveted position. Tomlin and Riddick are tight, and he’s earned the right to have major input in such decisions. All Tomlin has done is become the first coach in NFL history to not have a losing season for 15 straight years (2007-2021). The mark broke the previous record held by the late Marty Schottenheimer (1984-1997).
Riddick Is Being Coy About Where He Stands In The Team’s Plans Going Forward
Displaying the professionalism that has him in the position of possibly leading the executive offices of the NFL’s model franchise, Riddick hasn’t tipped his hand one way or the other. More than likely, the Steelers asked all candidates not to divulge too much about the hiring process until it played out.
“I can’t say very much,” Riddick said in an interview. “Simply because this is something that needs to play itself out. Obviously, everyone knows my connection is to Pitt and this city — what that would mean for me what that would mean for my family and how it would be kinda like a full-circle moment for me. But we’ll let this play out. Obviously, there are a lot of good candidates. … However it shakes out, it won’t change my connection to this city, this university and anything else that’s involved. We’ll see what happens.”
Steelers Drafted Well: Some Of The Picks Were Guys Riddick Was High On
The Steelers have long drafted and developed players well. The Kenny Pickett selection was one of those surprises that had the team’s name written all over it, and Riddick raved about him in a radio interview a few days before the draft.
“Kenny does not need to compensate for anything. He’s aces, man. He’s got A-pluses across the board, he’s a family guy who just got engaged,” Riddick raved. “There’s a great support system around him. … He’s intelligent, driven, committed to the craft, and committed to being the best possible player he can for not only himself, but for his teammates.”
Riddick wasn’t done, as he then compared Pickett to several productive NFL starters.
“He’s the mold of, as you’ve heard, a more athletic Kirk Cousins. But if there had to be one comparison for him, that would be Derek Carr of the Raiders.”
Riddick also slid in a comment about how nice it would be to see the hometown Pickett in Steelers colors and only having to walk across the hall to play for them.
Riddick was pretty high on three other Steelers draft choices. He raved about Georgia wideout George Pickens, a second-round choice who could end being the best receiver in the draft. Getting Texas A&M defensive tackle DeMarvin Leal in the third round is a steal, considering he was a top-10 prospect in 2021. Adding Memphis slot receiver Calvin Austin the III in the fourth round was another steal.
Introducing your 2022 #SteelersDraft Class 🙌 pic.twitter.com/sJdjyNQZpV
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 30, 2022
There’s an interesting puzzle forming here in Pittsburgh, and it doesn’t take super sleuth skills to figure it out. Don’t know if Riddick had any say-so in the picks, but a lot of how the draft played out for Pittsburgh mirrored what he was thinking. Now we’ll wait and see if the Steelers officially hire him.