By Jeremy Hritz
|Ben Roethlisberger||Miami (OH)||18||39||6’5||240|
|Mason Rudolph||Oklahoma State||4||25||6’5||235|
|Dwayne Haskins||Ohio State||2||24||6’3||218|
|Roland Rivers||Slippery Rock||0||25||6’3||230|
The quarterback room for the Steelers is stable for the time being, but it may only be a year removed from being uncertain and unsettled, considering this could be Ben Roethlisberger’s final season. Under this consideration, this is an important season for the quarterbacks supporting Roethlisberger and what they can contribute in terms of depth and potential, as this will help determine the direction the team will take in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Mason to Guide the Sleigh in 2022
Mason Rudolph recently signed a 1-year contract extension worth close to $5 million dollars, and following the 2021 season, he will be looked to as the stabilizing force in the transition away from Roethlisberger under center. While unknown what Rudolph can do for a full season as a starter, there is precedent and tape of his work as the primary, and even if he begins the 2022 season and doesn’t succeed, a rookie selected in the draft could be thrust into the lineup. If the Steelers believe in Mason, they may not select a QB in the 2022 draft, but this would be a risky proposition. In order for this to happen, Dwayne Haskins, the ultimate reclamation project, will have to prove successful.
The Reclamation of Dwayne Haskins
The Washington Football Team gave up on Haskins, and he now has a chance to show what he can do in Pittsburgh. In somewhat of a surprising move, Washington released Haskins due to transgressions of immaturity off the field, and after 2 seasons, he was off the roster and with the Steelers. With first round physical tools and arm but unproven maturity and intangibles, the Steelers are taking a shot to find out what Haskins could potentially offer, with no risk whatsoever to the team. If he works out, the Steelers’ brass look like geniuses; if he fails, there is no loss whatsoever. However, knowing the Steelers track record of getting the most out of players whom have been given up on (see Tommy Maddox), there should be some confidence Haskins develops enough to beat out Josh Dobbs for the #3 quarterback spot, and then only be injuries away from being back in a position to lead the team. Dobbs has had his chance to show what he can provide to the team, and he was already traded and then resigned, and I think that tells you all you need to know. Should Haskins not show enough, Dobbs will remain the #3 and the team’s insurance, but I have a hard time envisioning that happening.
It is also worth mentioning Roland Rivers who was brought into the fold to compete from Division II Slippery Rock. Rivers put up insane numbers in postseason runs at the Rock, and he has the tools to make all of the professional throws. While there are questions about his ability to work through his progressions and to fit the football into tight windows, the Steelers saw enough substance to invite him to camp, and I would not be surprised to see him earn a spot on the practice squad.
Big Ben’s Curtain Call?
I don’t know if this is Ben’s last season, as he could ball out and show he is immune to Father Time. Or, he could go out in a blaze of glory and bring #7 to Pittsburgh, which in that event, I would fully expect him to retire. If that is the case, where the Steelers would draft a QB in 2022 would speak volumes about their confidence in Rudolph and Haskins. If it is low, the QB pick will be in the first round; if it is high, it will wait until the later rounds.
This much is certain: fully enjoy this season from Ben as it may be his last. We may never see another quarterback of his caliber in Pittsburgh, and savoring every throw this year should be a priority of not only every Steelers fan, but every fan of football across the world.
Soon the Steelers will be in transition at the position, and the new direction will be dependent on what transpires this camp and regular season. Best case scenario is Ben brings home another title, and whatever follows becomes palatable in the wake of a championship season.
QB Depth Chart Prediction 2021
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Mason Rudolph
- Dwayne Haskins
Cut: Josh Dobbs
Practice Squad: Roland Rivers