As we’ve done in previous offseasons, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2019 offseason. We’ll focus this on the players who weren’t on the team’s practice squad last year, the mostly unknown players that fans don’t know much about.
Brogan Roback/QB Eastern Michigan – 6’2/7 213
Usually, the Steelers find their fourth, camp quarterback after the draft. Last season was sort of an exception, drafting Mason Rudolph as the 4th quarterback on the roster. Obviously, he was a lock to make it, ultimately bumping Landry Jones into free agency. This year is a little different. Well before the draft, Pittsburgh has all four quarterbacks around. The names you know: Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Dobbs, and Rudolph. Roback brings up the rear as the #4, signing a futures deal in January. Pittsburgh showed interest pre-draft, working him out, and finally get to make their way back to him.
Most fourth stringers are names even die hard fans have only a passing awareness of. Rod Rutherford. Shane Boyd. John Parker Wilson. Names quickly forgotten; their rookie cards found at your local garage sale. Roback is different. Casual fans, even outside the city, know he is. Spending last year with the Cleveland Browns in 2018, he was a fan favorite on Hard Knocks as everyone’s lovable backup QB.
He was even the star of the Episode 5 teaser, finally getting to show his stuff against the Detroit Lions in the preseason finale.
It was an impressive showing, all things considered. He may have only completed 50% of his passes but threw for 130 yards and a score, including this pretty 22 yard touchdown toss.
But like most 4th string quarterbacks, the Browns released him right before the start of the season. In a world where most teams are keeping only 2-3 on the entire roster, including practice squad, he didn’t find much work. A December tryout with Carolina was all I could find until, of course, Pittsburgh supplied him with his new home.
We assume most players on futures deals will make at least be attending training camp. Roback’s spot feels a little less secure because of the position he plays. You’re not adding a fifth quarterback the way you have the roster flexibility to say, add a 16th offensive linemen or ninth wideout. So if the Steelers find a UDFA they like more, Roback is the obvious odd man out. Heck, he was on the other end of things, supplanting Joel Stave in Cleveland when the Browns came calling.
If he can make it until mid-May, then his odds of showing up in Latrobe are good. Of course, making the roster will take an injury but he’ll have the comfort of a year under his belt on his side. He won’t look like the wide-eyed rookie in chaotic Cleveland. He’ll be the slightly more comfortable sophomore in chaotic Pittsburgh. Hey, it’s progress.