The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to draft quarterback Joshua Dobbs in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft and since then, a lot of people are wondering what the plan is with him and especially whether or not he can potentially become the team’s franchise signal-caller once starter Ben Roethlisberger decides to retire.
During a Tuesday interview on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked to explain his thinking when it came to picking Dobbs and if he had to walk the line between deciding to select a different player who could potentially help the team win now as opposed to quarterback who might not develop into anything more than a career backup.
“When you have a Hall of Fame quarterback like we’re fortunate enough to have, you’re probably never going to be bad enough to be picking another franchise quarterback. That’s just the reality of it,” Colbert started. “So, you have to judge. We want to win in 2017, that’s first and foremost, but you also want to secure the most important position in our game.
“So, how do you do that and balance it out? Well, taking a guy one, two and three, again, we’re not going to picking that high, at least we hope we’re not. So, you look down the road and you say, ‘Ok, who could possibly develop beyond what they are at this point?’ And when you look at a kid like Josh Dobbs, or look at any college quarterback coming out of today’s spread offenses, you don’t see a finished product because they’re not doing what they’re going to be asked to do at this level.”
Colbert went on to define what the Steelers saw out of Dobbs during their evaluations and what ultimately led to the decision to draft him.
“So, you make a judgement on do they have the skill set, the size, the arm, the athleticism to do what you’re going to want to do,” Colbert explained. “Do they have the intellect to learn NFL offenses and then have they produced within their offenses in big games? And really, in all three of those categories, Josh Dobbs checks off all the boxes. So, we know there’s upside there, we know that it is a work in progress.”
Last year the Dallas Cowboys seemingly struck gold when they drafted quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth-round and Colbert addressed that topic in relation to Dobbs and his potential.
“I think what Dak Prescott did was unusual to step in from a spread offense and be as successful as he was last year,” Colbert said. “And we’re not saying Josh Dobbs can do that, but we are saying that we’re very confident that in time, he can develop and maybe that time coincides with a point in time where we need a guy. And we all hope that’s more years down the road than just one, but we have to be prepared in the event that it isn’t.”
So, does that mean Colbert thinks that Dobbs can become a franchise quarterback for the Steelers down the road?
“I do think he has the opportunity, or he certainly has the talent and the intellect and having done won big games to develop further and where that goes, who knows,” Colbert said.
There was quite a bit major media speculation that the Steelers are unhappy with the development of current backup quarterback Landry Jones after they selected Dobbs in the fourth-round despite the fact they signed him to a two-year contract extension just after the start of the new league year in March. Because of that, Colbert was asked Tuesday to comment on that particular topic.
“No, absolutely no frustration with where Landry is,” Colbert said. “I mean, Landry’s kind of done what we’ve just talked about. He progressed from a spread offense to the point where we’re very comfortable with him as our No. 2 guy. He just recently signed an extension and it’s not an infinite extension, so where he is at that end of his contract, we don’t know. And again, maybe that will coincide with when Ben [Roethlisberger] decides to retire. Then, if we don’t have another guy in the mix, boy, we’re done.
Colbert went on to once again talk about the importance of the Steelers having a possible succession plan in place should Roethlisberger ultimately decide to retire before his current contract expires.
“If you don’t have a succession plan at that position, boy, your franchise can suffer,” Colbert said. “As I stated before, the continual succession plan that you saw when San Francisco, when they went from [Joe] Montana to Steve Young and in Green Bay when they went from Favre to Aaron Rodgers, that’s how great franchises remain great, when you can remain competent at that position.”