Mason Rudolph was drafted to be Ben Roethlisberger’s eventual heir. And if he keeps practicing the way he has, he may quickly move up the pecking order. Most assumed he would begin his career as the #3 but after a reportedly strong spring, at least one Steelers’ beat writer thinks he could challenge for Landry Jones’ backup spot. That’s what Ed Bouchette wrote this afternoon for the PPG.
In part, Bouchette said:
“Quarterback Mason Rudolph lived up to their expectations and then some. He has performed better as a rookie than any other quarterback they’ve drafted since Ben Roethlisberger, and they think he can compete in training camp to become his backup.”
He would later write that “few in the organization would be surprised” if Rudolph took Jones’ spot. Bouchette also mentioned that doesn’t mean Jones will lose his roster spot but could slide him down to #3 on the depth chart as veteran insurance and a good presence in that locker room for Roethlisberger and Rudolph, especially since Randy Fichtner is pulling double-duty as the OC and QBs coach. That would leave Josh Dobbs as the odd-man out, though he’s still practice squad eligible.
Veteran players like Marcus Tucker have been quick to point out Rudolph’s command of the huddle and innate leadership ability while former coaches have touted his work ethic, confidence, and commitment to football.
The important caveat to this is that it was *just* spring practices and Rudolph hasn’t even put on his pads yet, much less suited up for a preseason game. He’s still going to have to consistently play well to earn that job. But rookie QBs aren’t coddled the way they were in the early Roethlisberger era. And if Rudolph is as-advertised, the first-round grade player Kevin Colbert had on him, it’s certainly possible for him to move up the ranks very quickly.