The Pittsburgh Steelers battle for the backup quarterback spot behind starter Ben Roethlisberger figures to be a fun one to watch this offseason as it will be interesting to see if Mason Rudolph, who was drafted last year in the third-round out of Oklahoma State, can overtake Joshua Dobbs, who was selected by the team in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Tennessee, on the depth chart by the start of the 2019 regular season.
On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was a guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio after holding his annual scouting combine press conference and he was asked to specifically comment on what all he observed out of Rudolph during his 2018 rookie season.
“Mason was going through the process of being a rookie and most often he ran the scout team,” Colbert said. “But he was awesome in running our scout team. His preparation, he’s usually one of the first in, first on the practice field, and he takes pride in running the other team’s offense. And he’ll work on the cadence, the mannerisms, some of the throws. He really progressed.”
After Dobbs was able to beat out Landry Jones last year for the right to back up Roethlisberger, the team released the incumbent No. 2 in lieu of keeping Rudolph, who went on to be inactive for all 16 regular season games as the team’s No. 3 quarterback. As for Dobbs, he did see limited playing time during the season and even had a critical second and 20 pass completion against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 9 game and on the one play he replaced a temporarily injured Roethlisberger for.
Dobbs, however, also so extended playing time in place of a temporarily injured Roethlisberger in the team’s Week 12 road game against the Oakland Raiders. That showing, however, left a lot to be desired as Dobbs only managed to complete 4 of his 9 total pass attempts for 24 yards and an interception in that contest before turning the reins of the offense back over to Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter of what would eventually wind up being a 24-21 Steelers loss.
The Steelers traded up a few spots last year to draft Rudolph, who they had a first-round grade on. Because of that, and because Dobbs really didn’t show much when thrusts into action last season against the Raiders, many are expecting Rudolph to win the backup job this year during training camp and the preseason.
“So, going into this preseason, we’re real anxious to see that competition because we got one that’ll be a third-year player, one that will be a second-year player and they’re in a great spot because they don’t have to play because we have Ben [Roethlisberger],” Colbert said. “And they can take their time and continue to learn, which I think not only will benefit them, but benefit us in the long run.”