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: The quarterback position should not even be on the Steelers’ draft board this year.
Explanation: While Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career—he may already be there—the Steelers have invested mid-round picks on the quarterback position recently, and found a quality undrafted free agent. With no first-round pick, it’s unrealistic to anticipate they’ll be finding their next franchise guy this year.
It’s always important to plan for the future, but part of that plan is also understanding when is the opportune time to invest, both situationally and chronologically. This is not the time. The fact that the Steelers don’t even have a pick inside the top 40 should wipe away any notions of drafting a quarterback.
Because they already have a backup. Multiple backups. They don’t need depth. Their young guys were not great last year, but do you really think a rookie without an offseason is going to be a better Plan B in 2020 than Mason Rudolph? Of course not.
It’s rarely wise or useful to use a mid- or late-round pick on a quarterback, because the hit-to-miss ratio is so low, unless you know you also need a backup. If you need a franchise quarterback, you need the resources to make the investment. You don’t roll the twice and pray you get a Russell Wilson for your troubles. He was an anomaly. Landy Jones is the norm.
The next quarterback the Steelers draft may not be their franchise guy, but even taking a player first overall doesn’t guarantee that he is going to develop into that. If you believe in your evaluation and you are comfortable with the value, there is no reason the quarterback position should be off the table.
The Steelers had both Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs last year. But they traded Dobbs, and Devlin Hodges quacked out at the end of last season. Someone to be brought in and compete with Rudolph wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. And unlike Rudolph, he’ll be under contract after Roethlisberger’s deal is up.