The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2019 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: The Steelers signed Roethlisberger to a new two-year extension, on which, in new money, he is making the second-most per season in NFL history. He is coming off a historic campaign in team history in which he led the league with over 5000 passing yards and also set a new personal best and franchise record with 34 touchdowns.
He also led the league with 16 interceptions, however, and lost a number of fumbles. He got off to a sluggish start for the year, finding difficulty connecting with most of his targets consistently, including Antonio Brown, who is no longer here.
Roethlisberger is more committed to his physical conditioning than he has been at least in years, so that’s one thing. There is hope that the pressure he has faced this offseason will help drive him to the best season of his career.
Joshua Dobbs: Dobbs defeated Landry Jones for the backup quarterback position last year and held off Mason Rudolph as a rookie to secure that job, but he will have to contend with Rudolph again, who is brimming with confidence.
Dobbs saw meaningful snaps in two games last year, one of which was against the Oakland Raiders, in which he struggled to move the ball offensively. The third-year quarterback is continuing to grow into his game, which includes a lot of work on his own on the side, even private workouts with some of his teammates.
Mason Rudolph: Outside of the playing time, Rudolph’s story is much the same. He worked out with a private quarterback coach this offseason and has been trying to do everything he can to stay ahead. He got a fair amount of work with the first-team offense during OTAs. The reps between himself and Dobbs should be fairly evenly divided as the team evaluates who will back up Big Ben in 2019, and perhaps for the remainder of his career.
Devlin Hodges: Brogan Roback was signed to a Reserve/Future contract at the start of January, but he was waived following rookie minicamp, after which the Steelers signed Hodges. Though standing at just 6’1”, he is brimming with confidence and set an FCS record with 14,584 career passing yards at Samford. He also completed over 69 percent of his passes and threw for 111 touchdowns over four seasons.
Brogan Roback: 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. As mentioned, he lasted from January until after rookie minicamp for the Steelers this offseason. He hasn’t signed with another team yet.
Notes and Camp Outlook:
While there will obviously and always be attention paid to Roethlisberger—especially this year with Brown gone and so many new and young targets to get acquainted with—the backup quarterback position is going to be an attraction. Both Rudolph and Dobbs should take the bulk of the snaps in the preseason. In the event that Rudolph wins, one might wonder if Hodges can’t emerge as the number three quarterback and allow the team to get something in trade for Dobbs. Should Dobbs win, I don’t think the Steelers would be willing to consider trading Rudolph at this point in his career, given where they graded him.