The media, particularly the national media, but some local as well—particularly those on the radio—have continued to beat the drum about the Pittsburgh Steelers and their supposed need and alleged interest in the quarterback position. The team has routinely expressed confidence in Ben Roethlisberger’s return, comfort in Mason Rudolph as the backup, and optimism about the depth of the position as a whole, rounded out by Devlin Hodges, Paxton Lynch, and J.T. Barrett.
In spite of that, you knew, of course, that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin would be asked about the quarterback position and whether or not they would be looking at it this year. And if you’ve been following them for a while, you probably already know the general idea of Colbert’s response.
“We look at every position no differently than any other given year, whether we’re picking first or 32nd or not picking. We evaluate the whole board by position, so as to properly stack it, so we’ve got a good feel for those guys”, he said of this year’s crop of quarterbacks.
While there are some prospects whom many have a high degree of confidence in as future starters, perhaps stars, like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, opinions differ pretty substantially after that, though some believe up to four quarterbacks could go in the first round.
“There are several players in that group who are going to be future starters, possible Pro Bowlers. There’s some nice backups”, Colbert allowed. “Any pick that makes sense at any time, of course we’ll make those picks, but we’ve stated before, we feel good about Ben coming back. We know what we have in Mason. And we’ll see where we go then. Again, we’ll be prepared for any position regardless of who we have on our current team”.
Colbert saying that “any pick that makes sense at any time” is something that they will do doesn’t really mean much, since, number one, it would be illogical to do anything else, and number two, what makes sense and at what time depends entirely upon their own evaluation.
If Tagovailoa were available in the third round for them, then yeah, maybe they consider drafting him. The Steelers weren’t necessarily looking for a quarterback in 2018 when they drafted Rudolph, but when he became available in the middle of the third round, they decided the value of taking him at that spot based on where they evaluated him ‘made sense at that time’.
As best they can, Pittsburgh attempts to go into the draft not thinking in absolutes, feeling as though they need to come away with a specific position being addressed and at a specific time in the draft. There are exceptions, like when they have a player in mind (Devin Bush last year, for example).
But I wouldn’t put any money down betting that the quarterback position is one of those exceptions this year. It’s unlikely they even have an opportunity to match the position with good value based on where their picks are, frankly.