For those of you who were non-plussed about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ decision to draft a quarterback, you’re just going to have to bear with us this offseason, because we are understandably going to spend a decent amount of time getting to know a player that the team potentially views as a candidate for the heir apparent to the most important position in football.
Pittsburgh graded Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in the same grouping as the quarterbacks that were drafted in the first round, as General Manger Kevin Colbert talked about after the draft. And while Rudolph believes that he could have gone to a team in need of a quarterback and played at a high level right away, he does seem to genuinely appreciate that he landed with the Steelers, even if it means playing behind Ben Roethlisberger for potentially several years.
“I do feel like it’s a good fit. I’ve felt like it’s a good fit since I started talking to them”, he told the NFL Network shortly after he was selected in the third round. “It’s somewhere that I felt I could provide a whole lot of value. At whatever point that they call my name I know I’m going to get up there and compete my butt off starting tomorrow”.
It’s pretty clear that the Steelers are at least among the teams that showed Rudolph the most attention this offseason, if not the most, though they certainly weren’t the only one. Even the New England Patriots took a good look at him.
Rudolph said prior to the draft that he felt like he would go in the first round, and he probably thought it would be the Steelers to take him, if he didn’t go sooner. He probably didn’t expect to slip out of the second round either. But while he may have a pretty big chip on his shoulder about falling, that it was Pittsburgh to take him made it easier to stomach.
“I’m going to relish the opportunity to learn from somebody like” Roethlisberger, he said. “It’s not Ben’s job to teach me, it’s my job to learn from whatever resources I can gather information from. That’s the way I’m going to approach it. I’m going to work my butt off. Football is what I do”.
To that end, he said that his immediate plans were to “get my hands on the playbook and do everything I can to prepare like I am a starter. It’s my job to learn the offense as quick as I can and make the most out of whatever reps I get”.
Rudolph said that he “couldn’t be more proud and blessed” to “be with the organization that I’m with now”, and even if that is an easy comment to make after the fact, I do believe it’s sincere. None of that changes the believe that he could play now or that he should have been taken much higher.
“That’s just the competitor in you that feels like you are the best”, he said, “and you should be viewed that way”.