Earlier this week, I wrote an article pointing out an interesting fact of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ remaining schedule. Over the course of the following 14 weeks, the Steelers will play not only all five of the teams who selected a quarterback in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but also the five teams who currently possess and intend to start those quarterbacks.
I dubbed this the Mason Rudolph revenge tour, because the Oklahoma State quarterback headed into that draft weekend believing that he had a chance to go in the first round. He fell all the way to the third, however, yet was ironically taken by a team—perhaps the only team—who had a first-round grade on him. Interestingly enough, he was asked about being passed over while speaking to the media following Thursday’s practice.
“I’ve always had a chip. That’s kind of how I was raised”, he said. “I love football and I’m passionate about it. I’m gonna celebrate, I’m gonna have fun, I’m gonna try to be a catalyst for this offense, for this team. That’s who I’ve always been, and I’m not gonna change from that”.
The Cleveland Browns used the first-overall pick on Baker Mayfield last year. He is in the AFC North, so it’s a given that Rudolph will see him. The Steelers will play the Browns in Weeks 11 and 13, so the second-year quarterback will have already had half a season’s worth of reps under his belt.
The second to go off the board was Josh Rosen, taken by the Arizona Cardinals. They traded him during the 2019 NFL Draft to the Miami Dolphins, who just announced that they will be starting him. Pittsburgh hosts Miami in Week Eight. They’ll face the Cardinals in first-overall pick Kyler Murray in Week 14.
Next came Sam Darnold, going to the New York Jets. While he’s currently sidelined with mononucleosis, he will be back in plenty of time for their Week 16 game, which will also be the first time the Steelers see Le’Veon Bell on the field since 2017.
Josh Allen was drafted by the Buffalo Bills next. They will host Buffalo a week before they play the Jets. The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft wrapped with the Baltimore Ravens trading back up into the round to take Lamar Jackson, who enters this week 8-1 as a starter.
Their first game against the Ravens is in Week Five, and they also close the season with that rivalry. That could be a critical game—assuming the Steelers can become competitive by then. In fact, from Week 11 on, Rudolph will face all five of the teams, at least once, who drafted a quarterback ahead of him last year, including each of them in five consecutive games to end the season.
Almost in the order in which they were drafted. It doesn’t get much more serendipitous than that.