Vernon Adams, Oregon Quarterback
With the team moving on from Bruce Gradkowski and Mike Vick, the Steelers could be looking to add a quarterback late in the draft. Though they may not find the future replacement for Ben Roethlisberger in the seventh round, adding a quarterback with tremendous upside doesn’t hurt. Picking a player like Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams could be worth it at this spot.
The Steelers have taken signal callers out of Eugene in the past. Dennis Dixon was selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft after freefalling following a broken leg that ended his Duck career. Adams road to the NFL did not begin at Oregon like Dixon.
Adams started his career at FCS power Eastern Washington. With the Eagles, he passed for over 10,000 yards and 110 touchdowns in 3 seasons. He was two-time Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year and a two-time runner up for the Walter Payton Award, FCS’s version of the Heisman.
Though he’s not your prototypical quarterback (5’11 201), Adams showed with the Ducks that he can adjust his game to a higher level. Injuries did hinder him at the start of the 2015, but came into his own by the end of the year. Adams finished the 2,643 yards and 26 touchdowns leading Oregon to 6 straight wins down the stretch before the team imploding in the second half vs TCU at the Alamo Bowl.
Projected as a Russell Wilson type quarterback with a smaller frame, there is no guarantee that Adams will succeed in making an NFL roster. Sitting behind Ben and Landry Jones for a few seasons would allow him to develop in Todd Haley’s system and learn what it takes to play in the NFL. Like Jay Lee, Adams could be available as an undrafted free agent.