By this point, you’re either thrilled or petrified at the idea of the Pittsburgh Steelers taking the plunge and drafting a quarterback. To roll the dice and try and find the next Ben Roethlisberger, even if in doing so, you lose out on grabbing a player who can help you in the short-term.
It could go really well, like meeting your future wife. Or it could go really poorly, like meeting your future ex-wife.
Or there’s a third option – the team doesn’t end up taking one at all. It’s not impossible.
Asked about the heavy interest in QBs during the draft process, Mike Tomlin said in ways, it was a dry-run, preparing for the moment when they do finally make the move. Here’s exactly what Tomlin said, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
“[General manager] Kevin [Colbert] and I have spent special attention to that position over the last several years, if nothing else from a dry-run perspective, to gain the knowledge and the information necessary to make good decisions when we come to that fork in the road. Who’s to say that we aren’t there right now?”
Because hey, the Steelers really haven’t had to do this since they took Roethlisberger. For Kevin Colbert, that’s 13 years without taking a serious look at a QB. For Tomlin, this is his first time ever as the man in charge. He’s never had to do it, a crazy thought for a head coach entering his 10th season. So of course they have to prepare for the process, arguably the last thing the coach and general manager have never done together.
As one Depot reader pointed out yesterday, and I’ll take it a step farther, it’s been awhile since the team has even brought in a QB for a pre-draft visit. The last time the Steelers played host to a true, bonafide QB? Nate Davis in 2009. Even Geno Auriemma thinks that is one heck of a streak.
And going through this process of working out quarterbacks, bringing them in for visits could all be part of that dry run. It makes the Steelers familiar with the process and to hone through own evaluation, figuring out what they didn’t know about the process. And in the next year or two, evaluate their own evaluation of this class, as they’re probably doing with the last season or two, too. Where did they get things right on a player’s evaluation? Where did they get things wrong? What surprised them?
With a strong, unchanging organization, they can be pragmatic in this approach, unlike so many teams that come in with a new head coach and immediately begin the search for their franchise QB. And the Steelers are smartly taking advantage of having time to go through that process.
There is obviously a very real chance of them taking a quarterback this season. I’m still of the belief it’ll come on Day Two and not Day one, which rules out Patrick Mahomes – just too many teams interested – making Brad Kaaya and Josh Dobbs the frontrunners, the QBs I’ve selected in my last two mock drafts.
But this could also be the Steelers doing the smartest thing of all. Hitting the books and studying up all they can in 2017 so when 2018 rolls around, they’re as knowledgeable and confident in actually finding the heir to Roethlisberger.