The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2018 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.
We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.
Total Positional Figure: 4
Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger is coming off one of the best…well, half-seasons he’s ever had in his career, playing great, MVP-caliber offense in the second half of the 2017 season. Perhaps things might have gone slightly differently if he played that way during the first half of the season as well, but they still finished 13-3, and he certainly wasn’t the reason they lost in the playoffs.
More importantly, he sounds much more like somebody who has the intention of playing for a few more years yet than he did around this time last year. He has two years left on his current contract, and I’m betting he plays beyond that.
Landry Jones: Jones is heading into his sixth season with the Steelers and his third as the team’s primary backup. He has shown improvement with each season and played his best football in his lone appearance in 2017, the regular season finale. He would have looked even better if he wasn’t playing with a third-string center who botched several snaps.
Joshua Dobbs: The Steelers only drafted Dobbs last year in the fourth round, but he is already fighting for his football life thanks to the player you will be reading about in a few seconds. The Volunteer was only active for one game last season and did not play a snap, though he saw most of the playing time during the preseason in 2017. He had some positive moments, but the accuracy of his passes was concerning and his decision-making questionable.
Mason Rudolph: Rudolph is going to make the roster. And it’s very unlikely that the Steelers are going to carry four quarterbacks. Roethlisberger is probably safe as well. So the drafting of Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft means the end of his Steelers tenure for either Jones or Dobbs, unless the latter ends up on the practice squad.
Rudolph had his moments during OTAs and minicamp, especially making good on connections with James Washington. They gave him an extended look to close out minicamp and delivered, so that’s a positive start.
Players Lost: N/A
Notes and Camp Outlook:
With Rudolph guaranteed to get a good amount of rest, the Steelers must figure out how best to divide the rest of the quarterback snaps. If Rudolph is going to compete for the backup job, then he is going to need to get a lot of work. But Dobbs needs those reps too to have any chance of staying on the team and proving himself. And if Jones is going to be the backup, he is going to depend on those reps to get ready. There may be too many arms this year.