You know a Pittsburgh Steelers draft is weird when no linebackers are taken. You know it’s really weird if people would have liked the draft better if the first-round pick were taken in the third and the third-round pick taken in the first. But that’s where we are with quarterback Mason Rudolph.
In the discussion in the first round of the draft, the Steelers were clearly interested in him even though they passed on the opportunity to select him in the first two rounds. In the team’s post-draft press conference, General Manager Kevin Colbert went a bit into the reasoning behind why he was taken and where. We’ll update this with a proper link once the team uploads the post-draft press conference video, but for now, here are some of the relevant quotes.
“The other day when we talked in our pre-draft press conference we talked about adding another quarterback into the mix at some point. It got to a point where it was a very easy decision for us to add such a quality quarterback to our team”, he said.
Colbert pointed out the rare depth of the quarterback class and said that “Mason was certainly a part of that group, and when he was available to us at that point in the third round it was a very easy decision for us to choose him”.
Abundantly aware that he already has three quarterbacks on the roster, the general manager did address the presence of Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs, the former going into his six year and having been the backup for the last couple, and the latter a 2017 fourth-round selection.
“As we’ve mentioned before, it’s nothing against Landry or Josh Dobbs, it’s just this kid was available at a very easy selection at that point, and that’s a critical position”, Colbert told the media. “Where he fits, how quick he fits, coach can address that”.
After the Steelers chose not to select him in the first round, many soured on the idea of drafting Rudolph, arguing that if they believed in him as the possible heir apparent they would not have passed on the opportunity to take him and risk letting him slip away. Colbert explained why they went in another direction on their first two picks.
“It looked like he was going to be available at [the 60th-overall pick]. Of course he was. But then we had [wide receiver James Washington] available to us as well. So to be able to get the receiver, we took the precedent of taking the receiver because the receiver can help now”. Needless to say the same would apply to first-round safety Terrell Edmunds, who will probably be on the field in the season opener.
“When it get past that point of helping now, and then looking at down the road, it was an easy decision to take Mason Rudolph where we did”. But at that point, yes, we did consider [drafting Rudolph in round two], but the receiver was more the present, whereas Mason is really more the future”.
As for why they chose to trade up three spots to draft Rudolph, Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis can answer that. The Steelers traded up over the Bengals, and Lewis jokingly speculated during his own post-draft press conference that perhaps Pittsburgh had their war room bugged. The Bengals were going to take him after losing AJ McCarron this offseason.