By Jeremy Hritz
Over the course of the next several weeks, I will be analyzing each position on the Pittsburgh Steelers 90 man roster to look at strengths, areas for improvement, and what the complete picture means for the team. In concluding each analysis, I will offer up my current depth chart for the position, and then ultimately, I will provide my 53-man roster projection at the end of June. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this series, so please leave your comments below!
The Big Ben Era Is Over
After 18 years and a storied career, Ben Roethlisberger has finally retired, and a new era of Steelers football is about to begin. For the past few seasons, the offense has been limited by Roethlisberger’s lack of mobility, unwillingness to throw over the middle of the field, and waning arm strength. This is not to bash Big Ben, as father time catches up with every legendary quarterback, but his retirement came at the proper time, and now, Matt Canada will be able to fully implement his offense in all its glorious nuances in an attempt to innovate and update to compete in the modern NFL.
While the team is not delusional in believing that they have Roethlisberger’s replacement on the roster, there are options, and there is the hope that possibly one of them is able to more than appropriately step up as QB#1. Who the starter will be at the beginning of the season seems cemented, but the Steelers did not draft a quarterback in the first round to sit forever. Brace yourself for what should be a fun, competitive, and exciting QB battle in Pittsburgh.
|Chris Oladokun||5||QB||6-2||195||24||R||South Dakota State|
|Mason Rudolph||2||QB||6-5||235||26||5||Oklahoma State|
|Mitch Trubisky||10||QB||6-2||220||27||6||North Carolina|
Two rookie, two vets, all young players. That summarizes your 2022 Steelers QB room. When it comes to the current QB#1, look no further than Mitch Trubisky who was signed as a free agent this offseason to come in and compete for the starting job. During his time as a starter for the Chicago Bears, Trubisky went 29-21 on a team devoid of offensive star power, and with questionable coaching, reasons why many in Steelers Nation are optimistic about his prospects. Over his career, Trubisky has completed 64% of his passes, while throwing for 64 touchdowns and 38 interceptions. Additionally, Trubisky has the mobility and chops to pull it down and take off for a big gainer, taking advantage of an unsuspecting defense. Where Trubisky has struggled is being an effective down-the-field thrower, something the Steelers need, so he will have to show he has improved in this area. Trubisky is going to be given every opportunity to be the day one starter against the Bengals, and at 27 years old, there is still plenty of time for him to live up to his #2 overall draft status. However, despite this opportunity, Trubisky faces the challenge of having a beloved rookie behind him whom the city will be chomping at the bit to see on the field in 2022.
Enter Mason Rudolph
It’s hard to believe Mason Rudolph is entering his 5th season with the team, but that is the reality. The coaching staff is saying all of the right things that Rudolph will be given every opportunity to start come September, but I have a hard time buying that. In fact, I am quite confident that Kevin Colbert was on the phone during the draft trying to work out a deal for Rudolph with no luck. While no suitor was found, don’t close the door on Rudolph being shipped out, and I would bet on the trade discussions will continue, and if he has a decent showing in camp, the Steelers will find a trade partner. We know who Rudolph is, we’ve seen it. Forecast that for 17 games, and you can envision what a full season with him at the helm would result. If he is to stay on the team, he will have to play LIGHTS OUT in camp and in the preseason, which I just don’t see happening. A QB needy team as the result of injury of poor performance will come calling with a 6th or 7th round pick.
Kenny Pickett Is the Future
No question about it, Pickett was drafted to be the quarterback of the Steelers future, and while he may need some time to develop, he should firmly plant himself as the #2 QB by the start of the season. Pickett has a lot of experience in college throwing the football coupled with an insane work ethic. Those elements combined will put him in a position to legitimately compete, and in the end, the team will name him the backup quarterback, put on notice to be ready. While I don’t see the team starting him at the beginning of the season, by midseason, I would not be surprised to see Pickett get the nod if Trubisky is not performing to the standard. Think about it, what would be the value in going to Rudolph as your #2, as you already know who he is? With Pickett, there is the element of the unknown, and the optimism that he can be the signal caller of the future.
Pronounce His Name Right: Ol-a-Doe-Kin
I have Chris Oladokun making the team as the #3 QB, and while some may disagree being that he is a very raw prospect, his athleticism, upside, and arm strength make him worthy of giving him a long, long look. Several years back, the Steelers drafted Dennis Dixon out of Oregon, an athletic QB, who eventually started a game in Baltimore when the rest of the quarterback room was injured. Through his athleticism, he kept the team competitive, and Oladokun can do the same. He has all of the traits of the contemporary NFL QB, and he will be given every opportunity to show he belongs on the 53.
2022 Steelers Quarterback Depth Chart
- Mitch Trubisky
- Kenny Pickett
- Chris Oladokun
TRADE: Mason Rudolph shipped to another team in August for a 6th or 7th round selection