The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Who will be the best non-Steelers quarterback in the AFC North two years from now?
I want to take a bit of a different approach with this question because the reality is that the quarterback position in the division is in flux right now, where two of the teams may soon be starting rookies, at least by 2020.
All four of the teams in the AFC North actually drafted a quarterback this year, and the team that drafted one the lowest—the Cincinnati Bengals—were reportedly looking at taking the one the Steelers selected in the third round: Mason Rudolph.
But the Cleveland Browns wasted no time taking Baker Mayfield with the first-overall pick, and the Baltimore Ravens made sure to dive back into the first round to get their guy as well in Lamar Jackson. While they still have Joe Flacco, they’re already scheming ways to get Jackson on the field.
It’s not hard to envision a scenario in which he gets on the field, plays well, and gets his teammates behind him. Flacco doesn’t have his guys around him like Dennis Pitta anymore. Even virtually the entire group of wide receivers is full of new faces, who are not committed to him.
Then there is Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. He looked to be legitimately developing into a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback a couple of seasons ago while Hue Jackson was his head coach. They’ve tinkered with the line and are building a new offense around him this offseason to try to get him back on the right path.
So let’s try to fast-forward to a couple of years from now. Entering the 2020 season, or during it, who is the quarterback that you think the Steelers will have the most to worry about among their divisional opponents?
Or will it be a quarterback who is not even on one of their rosters right now? Or not even yet in the NFL?