Steelers News

Colbert Explains Double-Edged Sword Of Drafting Roethlisberger Heir Apparent

The Pittsburgh Steelers are certainly giving every impression this offseason that they’re not opposed to drafting yet another quarterback this year and not only that, in the early rounds as well. During a recent interview with Mike Florio on PFT Live, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked if the team would like to have another young quarterback who can learn the ropes under Ben Roethlisberger and ultimately become his successor, or if they are more concerned and focused now on playing and proceeding with the veteran and worrying about finding the next franchise quarterback after he’s done playing.

“Yeah, I mean it’s really a double-edged sword because you want to give Ben the best opportunity to win a Super Bowl while he still can and then you also want to recognize that great franchises that go from generation to generation and still are successful, they usually have passed it on because a great quarterbacks,” Colbert told Florio. “You go from San Francisco with [Joe] Montana to Steve Young, of course Green Bay from Brett Favre over to Aaron Rodgers, and you’d like to be able to do that if it makes sense at that time. So we’re always – it’s probably even more current now, because every year Ben ages.

“Of course you have to get ready to replace him and we’ve tried to add young quarterbacks in the mix to develop. We did it with Landry Jones. We did it with Joshua Dobbs. But we try to do that just to keep young guys in the system. But at some point, you may draft a quarterback higher, but as long as you got a Ben Roethlisberger playing for you, you’re hopefully not going to be in a position where you’re going to be able to get that guy that high. The year we got Ben we were coming off a losing season and that was very unfortunate, the losing season, but we were fortunate to get him. So we’re always measuring 2018, but you never forget about the future. And when it comes time to make those decisions, we’ll look at what else is available.”

Colbert has pretty much maintained this same philosophy dating back to last offseason and it resulted in the Steelers drafting quarterback Joshua Dobbs in the fourth-round. Dobbs, however, couldn’t bypass Landry Jones on the quarterback depth chart last season and there’s currently no indication he’ll be able to do so this offseason, either. Jones, however, is currently in the final year of his current contract and should Dobbs ultimately wind up passing him on the depth chart, the Steelers will have no use for the long-time Steelers backup.

Should the Steelers ultimately draft yet another quarterback this year, one has to think it would happen in the first two rounds and be either Mason Rudolph out of Oklahoma State or Lamar Jackson out of Louisville. Colbert was at Rudolph’s pro day a few weeks ago along with Tomlin and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and the three are also expected to be present at the Louisville pro day later this week to watch Jackson go through the paces.

On the surface, one would think that the Steelers would likely have to draft either Rudolph or Jackson in the first-round with the 28th overall selection as the odds of either of those two players falling into the latter portion of the second-round probably aren’t great. The Steelers have temporarily filled holes they had at the inside linebacker and safety positions during free agency with the signings of Jon Bostic and Morgan Burnett. In typical Colbert fashion, those additions now loosen his proverbial drafting hands a little and thus he’ll not be forced to bypass a perceivable great player at any position should an fall to him and on the surface, that includes another quarterback.

We now have less than a month to go before the 2018 NFL Draft takes place and should the Steelers ultimately select another quarterback in the first few rounds, none of us will be able to say that Colbert didn’t tell us ahead of time that it could potentially happen. Even so, it will still be surprising if that happens and especially one year after the team spent a fourth-round draft pick on Dobbs.

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