Steelers Position Battle Breakdown And Analysis: Quarterback

June 10, 2022
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From: https://thegameday.com/; Gio Annatelli

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a new look in 2022. Since 2003, the Steelers have been without Ben Roethlisberger on the roster for the first time. The Pittsburgh legend retired following last season, leaving the Steelers’ starting quarterback situation in question.

Mitch Trubisky signed a two-year deal with the team in March following a year as a backup in Buffalo. Mason Rudolph is the longest-tenured QB on the roster following Roethlisberger’s departure, drafted by the team in 2018. In the 2022 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh drafted two QBs, Kenny Pickett in the first round and Chris Oladokun in the seventh round. 

Both Trubisky and Rudolph are looking for redemption and turning their careers around, Pickett is looking to start his NFL career on a high note, and Oladokun is looking to become one of the few seventh-round quarterbacks to have a successful career. 

Steelers Position Showdown

Quarterback Battle 

The starting quarterback position is a three-person race between Trubisky, Pickett, and Rudolph. Unfortunately, Oladokun won’t be getting nearly as many reps as the other three, and unless he shines, he won’t be winning the starting job. 

It looked like Trubisky would be stepping in as the starter following his signing in March. However, the Steelers complicated things by taking Pickett, the hometown favorite, with the 20th overall pick in the draft this year. And you can’t forget about Rudolph, who has tenure with the team above the two of them. 

Trubisky’s time in Chicago was tumultuous. In four years with the Bears, Trubisky had a 29-21 record and threw for 10,609 yards, 64 touchdowns, and 37 interceptions with a 64% completion percentage. His best season came in 2018 when he was 11-3 and threw for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, in which Trubisky made the Pro Bowl. 

The issue was never Trubisky in Chicago; it was the position the coaching staff put him in. The former first-round pick was always compared to Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, taken after Trubisky in the draft. As a result, his game was picked apart under a microscope and set up to fail. 

Pickett is the prodigal son of Pittsburgh, as he was a star at the University of Pittsburgh. Pickett threw for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in his final year at Pitt and completed 67.2% of his passes. He ran a pro-style offense in 2021, making him the most pro-ready QB of the draft class. 

There are some things Pickett still needs to work on to be successful at the next level. His lack of aggressiveness and tendency to hold onto the ball for too long will not favor him. 

Rudolph hasn’t been exceptional since being drafted by the team in 2018. After sitting his rookie year, Rudolph stepped in for an injured Roethlisberger in 2019, but injuries and poor play got him a seat on the bench. Rudolph threw for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. That year was also memorable for the brawl. 

In the two seasons since then, Rudolph has only played in seven games and started two but has squandered his opportunities, going 0-1-1 in his two starts. 

The Game Day’s Position Battle Prediction: Trubisky is already building a good relationship with the wide receivers during off-season workouts. He found a good situation in Pittsburgh before the team drafted Pickett. Trubisky will ultimately win the job, but he’ll be on a tight leash, whether from management or the fans, who will be clamoring for Pickett to play.