Updated: Apr 30, 2021
The NFL Draft reminds me of March Madness in several ways. Mainly, I love how both make people feel as if they are right and everyone else has horrible takes on what is about to go down.
Pittsburgh is one of those teams that can go in numerous directions with its draft. After being bludgeoned by the salary cap, last season’s final undefeated team is seemingly about to enter a down year for this upcoming season. I, personally, do not think that the downward trend will last very long, but the draft this year serves as a significant point in terms of the team’s retooling efforts.
Some additions are desperately needed defensively, the offensive line is in need of new talent and the starting running back spot has many contenders on the roster that more so resemble backups.
Those position needs can be agreed upon, but what really divides those who examine the Steelers’ depth chart is what to do about the quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger is basically giving it one more go. After this upcoming season, there will be a culture shock for the entire NFL as the Steelers will have a new starting quarterback, assuming everything stays on its current trajectory. What makes that looming change even more odd is that...not a lot of people seem to care about finding his replacement in this draft.
With the recent signing of Dwayne Haskins and game tested backup Mason Rudolph on the Steelers depth chart, maybe some people don’t see a need to draft yet another guy to hold a clipboard on the sidelines. I mean, Josh Dobbs is basically still on the roster because him and Ben think on the same wavelength. He clearly isn’t their QB of the future, but he continues to get new contracts so that he can help Ben. That doesn’t sound like he is the answer.
Do any of those three seem like a logical heir to the throne left behind from a future NFL Hall of Famer? Not really. Haskins went from being tapped as the future of the Washington Football Team to being released within two seasons. His lack of maturity and mediocre play was not worth it for Ron Rivera and company, but who is to say that Mike Tomlin and others can’t get him on the track to being the NFL starter that some thought he could be?
Rudolph is someone that I continuously try to give the benefit of the doubt. I loved his play at Oklahoma State, but his time in regular season action for Pittsburgh hasn’t really proven to me, or anyone, that he is a safe bet to be a permanent starter.
So, no, neither of them would do my already high for a 22 year old blood pressure any favors if they were chosen to be the next franchise quarterback of the Steelers.
There is a lot of quarterback talent in the draft this year far beyond the projected top picks of Justin Fields and Trever Lawrence. Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman is someone that I believe has the tools to be molded into a good NFL quarterback, much like Kellen Mond out of Texas A&M. Mond also carries years of experience from a long career as a starter for the Aggies.
If you ask me, Pittsburgh should 100% address other needs before focusing on their quarterback situation. If a talented linemen, edge rusher or cornerback is available, the Steelers should, undoubtedly, select them.
But if a quarterback that stands out to Pittsburgh, they should go all in. There might be four quarterbacks on the roster right now, but none of them are guaranteed to be on the roster after this upcoming season due to expiring contracts. Combine that with a very talented crop of quarterbacks in the middle rounds and you have a few justified reasons to gamble on a quarterback in this draft.
Maybe Ben has come around and will actually be willing to help whoever the Steelers pick now that he seems content with hanging it up after this season.