With the 2018 season completely in the books and 2019 staring us down just around the corner, it’s time to pause and take stock of the current state of the Pittsburgh Steelers by looking at their roster as it stands now, going position by position.
The new league year officially begins on March 13, and coincides with the start of free agency. Between now and then, the Steelers figure to make a couple more decisions about what the roster will look like, including the signing of a couple more of their pending unrestricted free agents. There are a few other loose ends to tie up before then as well.
Total Positional Figure: 4
Ben Roethlisberger: Statistically, one can make a compelling case that Ben Roethlisberger is coming off the best season of his career. He threw for over 5000 yards in 2018, something still few players have done, though it has become more common in the past decade. His 34 passing touchdowns is a new franchise record, but his turnover numbers are a cause for concern. And not just the turnovers but the number of throws that he put into dangerous territory, which were at an elevated level.
But overall the transition to Randy Fichtner as offensive coordinator went smoothly, and that included efficiency in the red zone—despite four interceptions inside the 20. He is also in the best physical condition he has been in for several years and looks prepared to play for another few seasons.
Joshua Dobbs: Joshua Dobbs was able to show enough to the Steelers during the preseason to convince the coaching staff that he was prepared to serve as the backup this year. That cost Landry Jones his job, and he has struggled to land on his feet since then.
Dobbs participated in two games, the first being a one-snap cameo in which he completed a 23-yard pass on second and 22 deep in the Steelers’ own end. He played most of the second half, however, in a loss to the Oakland Raiders, in which his only real highlights were a pair of scrambles as he struggled the throw the ball.
Mason Rudolph: Pittsburgh is hoping that Mason Rudolph can be their future, but that remains to be seen. 2018 was a redshirt year for the third-round pick, whom the Steelers viewed as in the same tier as those who were drafted in the first round. He had a solid preseason and claimed to have grown a lot mentally during the regular season. 2019 will be a big year as he looks to seize the backup job.
Brogan Roback: The Steelers picked up Brogan Roback as a Reserve/Future signing at the end of the 2018 season. The undrafted rookie out of Eastern Michigan completed nine of 18 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown with the Browns in the preseason last year.
Offseason Strategy: For the love of god, please don’t do anything
The Steelers have used a draft pick on a quarterback in the middle rounds in each of the past two seasons. While both of them remain with the organization, as discussed above, that is certainly enough for the time being.
The team is in the process of working out another extension with Roethlisberger as he is scheduled to enter the final year of his contract. One would hope that the combination of Dobbs and Rudolph, the latter a player they saw as a first-round talent, can round out the group through the remainder of Roethlisberger’s career, or at least through the life of their current contracts.