Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: Mason Rudolph
Stock Value: Up
Of course it’s up. First of all, it’s hard for any quarterback with even a modicum of talent to look that bad in a setting like rookie minicamp. And getting to work with a guy that you spent four years with and were very successful with? Of course you’re going to look good.
But Mason Rudolph impressed off the field as much as on it. Poise is important, and that’s poise under pressure not just from a pass rusher, but from any sort of obstacle or adversity. How you handle pressure under any circumstance is an indication of your character, and he’s handled everything exceedingly well since he’s gotten here, even if it is simply navigating the minefield that media questions can be.
First-year wide receiver Marcus Tucker has been around for a couple of years now, so he at least knows a little something. And he came away quite impressed with Rudolph’s ability to command the huddle. A reporter asked him if that’s something you could even tell this early on. He said absolutely, guys can tell who commands attention, and who gets listened to.
There were some growing pains on day one, Rudolph admitted, when it came to taking the under-center exchange, though that’s natural for any new pairing, somebody you’ve never worked with before. He said that he has been working a lot at taking snaps from under center all offseason and doesn’t believe it will be a problem.
He also felt that himself and James Washington put on a good performance during Saturday’s practice. I haven’t really seen anything particularly negative in terms of observations from rookie minicamp. Head Coach Mike Tomlin also praised the work of the two Oklahoma State players.
Rudolph knows his task as a rookie, though, is to try to secure the backup quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger is going to be the starter as long as he’s healthy. there is no quarterback controversy in 2018.