Say what you will about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ recent usage of mid-round draft picks on quarterback, but one criticism that can’t be lobbied against them is that they don’t know how to express themselves. The expressive and leadership qualities exude from Joshua Dobbs and this year’s pick, Mason Rudolph.
They also know how to walk the fine line of answering questions without saying anything that is going to be twisted into something that it’s not intended to be. We saw that from Dobbs when he spoke to Jeremy Fowler after Rudolph was drafted. And we have seen that from Rudolph since he’s been drafted, dodging Ben Roethlisberger’s statements and the reporters’ questions that drove.
He gave a perfect example of this on the opening day of rookie minicamp last week when he was answering reporters’ questions after practice. Within a broader response to a question, he said, “I’m looking forward to embracing my role on this team and learning, making the most of these reps out here at rookie minicamp”.
Naturally, a reporter asked him to define his role. Asking a rookie, drafted in the third round, to define his role on the first day of rookie minicamp. Because of course things like that are ironed out before he even meets face to face with any veterans on the team. Fortunately he handled that question deftly.
“My role is day-by-day. Obviously I’m not starting. I’m just looking forward to working with Josh and Landry and Ben and, like I said, maximizing each of these reps with these guys, with all these rookies out here, bonding together, getting our chemistry right, and then working on the next phase in OTAs”, he told the reporter.
Now, maybe some people want to go crazy over the fact that he mentioned Roethlisberger after he mentioned Dobbs and Landry Jones, because some people just enjoy being crazy. But other than that, you have to like both his attitude and the way that he conveys it to the media. I think there’s a The Chief Award in his future.
I love the fact that he talked about the here-and-now, talking about building chemistry and bonding with the other players in rookie minicamp, which included a bunch of wide receivers who were only there on a tryout basis and would not be with the team this summer. One of those tryout wide receivers, Damoun Patterson, was signed. Perhaps that’s one that Rudolph bonded with.
The next step for the rookie is to hit the field with the 90-man roster during OTAs, coming up around the corner. That will be his first opportunity to work with the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jesse James, Xavier Grimble, and the like.
He knows as well as anybody that he is always going to be a prime target for interviews, marked as the heir apparent. If his ability to handle the media is any indication of what he is going to be like on the field, then he could be a good one.