The Pittsburgh Steelers are maybe the only team in the NFL who always has three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. They also pretty much always have four quarterbacks on their offseason roster. for 2019, it’s pretty likely who the three are who will make the team—Ben Roethlisberger, Joshua Dobbs, and Mason Rudolph—but the number four arm is reportedly not looking out of place. Nor does he lack for confidence.
“If you ask me, I think I should be the number one pick”, rookie Devlin Hodges, who was a rookie minicamp invitee, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I feel like everyone, if they are confident in themselves, that’s what they should think. I am a confident player; I know I have a lot of to learn. But I am excited”, he added. to “take each opportunity I have to show the coaches that I can play at this level”.
Hodges came out of Samford, a name that you might be familiar with because that is where 2013 seventh-round defensive end Nick Williams was from. He is the only player that the Steelers have ever drafted from the small school, and there have been just 17 ever in the NFL (six drafted), with Courtland Finnegan being the most notable. There was a long gap between 1968 and 2006 where none made it in to the NFL, but seven, including five draft picks, have found success at some level since then.
Hodges is hoping to continue the positive trend for the small school over the course of the past decade and a half, but that would have to include unseating one of two young quarterbacks that the Steelers like. Dobbs was threatened last year, but ended up unseating backup Landry Jones.
“But I am here with an opportunity, and I have a job, I have a role. I have got to challenge myself to stay locked in”, Hodges said. “That’s why I am getting in throws after practice, because I have to make sure when my number is called I am ready for whatever I’m asked to do”.
How many opportunities will he even get, though? That is the real question facing him. Roethlisberger is going to get his time off during training camp and in the preseason—he only played 25 snaps last year—but obviously Dobbs and Rudolph, who will compete for the backup spot, will take up most of the rest of the snaps throughout July and August.
When is the last time that a fourth arm has ever made any type of headway for the Steelers? If it has ever happened, it has been quite a while. It goes without saying that Hodges’ odds are long, but the only way to push through that is to have confidence in your own abilities. And that he has.