Succeeding the somewhat surprising loss on Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Pittsburgh Steelers have already turned their head towards the new season.
The firing of offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, after six years came as a surprise to some since the Steelers were able to score 42 points against the league’s best defense. Yet the Steelers defense wasn’t able to stop any of the Jaguars, allowing an embarrassing 45 points. With Haley gone and Bell a possible free agent, it almost seems like the Steelers window is closing.
Be that as it may, Roethlisberger addressed his future with the Steelers by saying, “I’ll be back next season.”
With the, soon-to-be 36 year-old, assuming his role as signal caller for the Steelers, it opens up a question about how the Steelers should address their future. Roethlisberger led us all on a roller coaster last year while he pondered his return. This year it was addressed earlier and more self-assured. However, Roethlisberger’s time in the NFL is nearing an end and I don’t foresee Landry Jones being the franchise quarterback of the future.
With the 28th pick in the quarterback-friendly 2018 NFL Draft, the Steelers will be left with the decision to pull the trigger on a quarterback or not to.
Getting a quarterback late in the first round to sit for a year has proved to be successful at times. Most notably, Aaron Rodgers, who was selected 24th and sat behind Hall of Fame quarterback, Brett Favre. Unfortunately for the Steelers many teams are in desperation for a quarterback this year who sit in front of them in the draft. So we will take a look at a few prospects that would be able to fill in nicely.
Assuming the Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield and Jackson’s of the draft have all been taken before the 28th pick, that’d leave the very talented Wyoming leader, Josh Allen, and Oklahoma State signal caller, Mason Rudolph, as my top two selections at this pick. It is very possible that neither of these quarterbacks are available at this selection, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll assume they are still on the board.
Josh Allen started his junior season out with two tough loses within the first three weeks. After that, Allen went on a nice run winning seven of his final eight games, while throwing 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in that span. Allen is one of the tallest quarterbacks in the draft, which seems to be the mold that they’ll want stick with. Especially having a guy who was also one of the bigger quarterbacks when being drafted there to mentor Allen for a year or two.
Allen shows a cannon for an arm with pro-like accuracy, when he isn’t throwing off of his back foot. He’s able to move out of the pocket and still find his receivers while on the run. Allen has aggressive and calm feet and has the ability to pick up first downs with his feet and power. Very similar to Roethlisberger in his type of play and body build, this seems like a great fit for the Steelers moving forward.
Mason Rudolph also might be available at the 28th pick in the first round. As another one of the bigger guys in the draft, are you starting to notice a theme? I feel the Steel city thrives off of the big, blue collar-type, quarterback. Rudolph has the swagger that Mike Tomlin looks for and the arm and poise to be a starter early in his career.
Rudolph finished his senior year at Oklahoma state with career highs in yards (4,904), touchdowns (37), completions (318) and completion percentage (65%). Rudolph could be more realistically available at the 28th pick and would be a perfect fit to backup Roethlisberger. This kid has an x-factor that screams, you won’t want to pass on this guy, and I feel Tomlin senses that.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a chance six quarterbacks will have been taken before the Steelers even get a chance to make a selection. If this is the case, watch out for the Steelers to target Luke Falk, Chase Britton or Kurt Benkert. These three quarterbacks are not first round material, but the draft has its own way for getting into organization’s heads. If the Steelers notice some quality traits in these guys before April, we could see some major surprises.
If the Steelers feel the window hasn’t shut yet, they may avoid the future and address the present which is to continue to bolster their defense. Last year’s first round pick of T.J. Watt helped immensely and we could see the Steelers go in the defensive direction again.
If that is the case then we may see the Steelers address the quarterback on day two, three, or possibly not at all. Sticking with Landry Jones as the foreseeable future and we’ll find ourselves right back to this same type of article at the end of the 2018 season.