After another embarrassing performance from a backup quarterback, it’s clear the Pittsburgh Steelers must address the position moving forward.
Since drafting Ben Roethlisberger in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers have almost never struggled to put a quality starting quarterback on the field. Unfortunately, during a season in which Roethlisberger was lost early on, the team’s ignoring of the position behind Roethlisberger has come back to haunt them. After another loss in which the passing offense was abysmal, it’s become clear that the Steelers desperately need to target a quarterback of the future.
The Steelers actually already tried to address the position back in 2018 by using a third-round pick on Oklahoma State product Mason Rudolph. As we witnessed this season, that looks like a wasted pick as Rudolph struggled as a starter, lacking the timing or awareness to thrive as a starting option. After the debacle that happened in Cleveland, the Steelers sent Rudolph to the bench in favor of undrafted rookie Devlin “Duck” Hodges. Unfortunately, as much fun as the Duck era has been, the wheels fell off against the Buffalo Bills, making it clear that Hodges isn’t the long-term answer either.
Due to the trade that sent their first-round pick to the Miami Dolphins, the Steelers won’t have a first-rounder in 2020, making it unlikely they will be able to land on of the college game’s top quarterback prospects. That said, the team should show no hesitation in using their only Day Two pick in the draft, their second-rounder, on a potential franchise quarterback.
If the performances of Roethlisberger’s draft classmates, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning are any indications, the end of the Big Ben era is on the way. Unless the Pittsburgh Steelers finally start taking the future of the quarterback position seriously, their time as one of the NFL’s most consistent franchises may come to an end as well.