The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will the Steelers draft a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft, and if so, in what round?
It’s now the first of April, meaning that the 2017 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away at this point. Leading up to the big event, we have had the Steelers’ president, general manager, and head coach in some form or another reference the present possibility and future inevitability of the team replacing Ben Roethlisberger at the quarterback position.
For many years, when these people talked about the team’s draft needs, particularly in the first round, it was common for them to list the quarterback position as off the board because there is nobody on the board that they would be interested in taking.
This era is different. Roethlisberger is 35 years old at this point and is clearly indicating that he doesn’t plan to be one of those players who simply plays until he isn’t capable of doing so anymore. It’s unclear how many seasons he might continue to play, likely as much to himself as to anybody else.
So the Steelers are looking at quarterbacks this year perhaps more than they have in over a decade when Roethlisberger was drafted. Already they have spoken to several quarterbacks during the Combine or at their Pro Days. They are even reportedly bringing in some significant names at the position for pre-draft visits or putting them through workouts.
So the question posed, then, is simple, but one that we won’t have an answer to until the draft actually happens. The Steelers know they’ll need a quarterback at some point, and if the value is right at the right time, they are open to drafting one.
Will they, and if so, when? Could they really take one in the first round, as a couple of mock drafts have indicated? Not that mock drafts are that valuable a source of information, particularly ones that happen to be outliers.