Steelers Interview Ed Dodds, Ryan Cowden, JoJo Wooden for GM Position

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 4, 2022

WESTFIELD, IN - JULY 26: Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds watches a drill during the Indianapolis Colts training camp practice on July 26, 2019 at the Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Friday they've completed interviews with three candidates for their impending vacancy at general manager:

  • Ryan Cowden (Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel)
  • Ed Dodds (Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager)
  • JoJo Wooden (Los Angeles Chargers director of player personnel)

Kevin Colbert, the Steelers' current GM, is set to step down following the 2022 NFL draft.

Team president Art Rooney II said last week in the announcement of Colbert's upcoming departure they'd already interviewed two in-house candidates, Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt, but would also consider executives from outside the organization:

"A GM has a lot of responsibilities these days and we'll be hiring somebody who can fulfill all those responsibilities, which No. 1 includes being a talent evaluator and putting our draft together and everything else that goes with working as a GM in the NFL today. Having said that, we're looking for somebody who fits with the way we're structured and our culture. We're not really planning to change our own structure here."

Rooney also confirmed the hire wouldn't take place until after the draft, a distinction that would make hiring an in-house option seem more likely for the ease of transition. An outside candidate may want control of this year's draft as the Steelers enter a transition period.

Longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement in January. While his play had dipped over the past few years amid diminishing arm strength, he still leaves a massive void at the sport's most important position.

Mason Rudolph is the only signal-caller under contract for 2022 and he's not a long-term solution. A lackluster free-agent class at quarterback and ample uncertainty surrounding this year's group of QB prospects in the draft leaves the Pittsburgh front office in a tough spot.

A trade is likely the best option if the Steelers want to contend in 2022, but the new league year opens March 16 and the draft doesn't conclude until April 30.

That's another reason an in-house candidate makes the most sense for Pittsburgh. It's hard to put an entire offseason plan in place and then attempt to change everything on the fly in early May when a key stretch of free agency and the draft are already over.

There are other needs that must be addressed, led by both the offensive and defensive lines along with the secondary, but getting the quarterback situation settled sits atop the to-do list.

The Steelers are committed to going through the normal hiring process, but on the surface, Khan and Hunt seem like they'll have an inside track on the job once Colbert steps down.