The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Despite the rough end of his rookie season, Devlin Hodges will be the Steelers’ number three quarterback in 2020.
Explanation: For at least most of the 2019 season, Devlin Hodges was the Steelers’ number three quarterback, even though he didn’t make the initial 53-man roster. After Ben Roethlisberger was injured and Mason Rudolph was injured or struggled, the fans got behind ‘Duck’, but his play trailed off late and helped contribute to their missing the postseason.
Well one thing I’m very confident in, and that’s the fact that the Steelers are not going to use a high draft pick on a quarterback this year. Likely, they’re not going to use a draft pick at all on the quarterback position. They’re already on record saying they are comfortable with Mason Rudolph as their backup, and it would be nonsensical to draft a number three.
Hodges is going into just his second season and spent his rookie year getting fourth-string reps. Put it this way: he was ahead of where Rudolph was as a rookie. He was ahead of where Joshua Dobbs and Landry Jones were. The only difference other than his pedigree is the fact that he was forced into action, significantly, whereas the others weren’t. They were healthy scratches as rookies.
The Steelers may not be adding any more quarterbacks to the 90-man roster, at least through unrestricted free agency or the draft (they could add an undrafted free agent, even though they have J.T. Barrett already), but they do have an alternative to Hodges in Paxton Lynch.
A former first-round pick, Lynch was signed to take Hodges’ place on the practice squad, later signed to the 53-man roster. While the coaching staff has talked him up, they cited Hodges’ time in the system as the reason they stuck with him after he struggled rather than turning to Lynch.
This time around he’s actually going to have an offseason—such that it is, but at least he will be learning the system—and should be appropriately prepared to re-establish himself as an NFL backup quarterback (or in this case, third-string quarterback).