There’s no way of getting around the fact that NFL rosters are cyclical in nature. Every year at a minimum hundreds upon hundreds of new players under the labor market for just 32 NFL teams, each of whom field 63 players per season, plus those on injured reserve.
With hundreds of players drafted every year and just as many if not more coming in as undrafted free agents, it’s inevitable that some of the 2000-plus players with NFL contracts from the season before are going to lose their spots. Some teams see far more turnover than others on a regular basis.
As we get close to the draft, I want to do some risk assessment for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster based on their current needs and how they have handled them in free agency, compared to how they typically go about handling their business in the draft.
Asset: QB Joshua Dobbs
Roster Vulnerability: Low-Medium
Role Vulnerability: Low-Medium
This comes down entirely to who is available late in the first round and how serious the Steelers are about addressing the quarterback position now. Pittsburgh has given indications that they might be genuinely enamored with Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, and if that is indeed the case then Joshua Dobbs might well be released in a few weeks.
A fourth-round selection in last year’s draft, Dobbs is not a quarterback that they viewed as somebody who will be groomed as Ben Roethlisberger’s successor, but given that Landry Jones is already cemented into the backup role, the addition of an evident heir apparent would obviously result in the second-year quarterback being shown the door.
Unless they could keep him on the practice squad, of course, but I don’t think it would come to that. As stated earlier, the Steelers would likely release Dobbs in order to give him the opportunity to find another team to hook up with in the offseason as they did for Zach Mettenberger last year when they took Dobbs.
While it could also be Lamar Jackson, the team hasn’t shown nearly as much interest in the Louisville product as they have in Rudolph. Beyond those two names—assuming the other top four quarterbacks in the draft will be long gone—I think it would be extremely unlikely for the Steelers to bother addressing the position in the draft.
Bottom line, if the Steelers take a quarterback this year, or perhaps even in the next couple of years, it will be because they think he’s the next face of the franchise. Jones has the makings of a long-term backup and I have a feeling the team will hold on to him for a while unless or until an heir apparent comes along who will back up Roethlisberger until he’s through.