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Keep, Keep, Cut: Rudolph, Hodges, Lynch

If you’re like me you’d love the chance to be a General Manager. We all have our opinions on players throughout the draft process and throughout the season of who we would prefer to have on the team or active roster. I thought this might be a fun process to look at a group of players give some background information on each player and see who you would keep.

I’ll give you three players either from a position group or some other roster scenario and you decide which two you will keep and one player to cut. At the end of this process we’ll have a good idea of who you think should be on the roster.

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger posted a video of him throwing to some of his teammates which is a huge step toward a full recovery and being ready for the 2020 season.  There are 4 other QB’s on the roster and for this exercise I’ll leave J.T Barrett, likely the #5 QB, out of the mix. And the team has indicated there will be a competition for the backup QB positions. That leaves three candidates with some NFL game experience. Jameis Winston, Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. Wait, sorry. Those are the guys the talking heads wanted them to sign with no cap room available.

Mason Rudolph – He started the 2019 season as the number two and took over the reins when Roethlisberger went down. While many pundits felt the Steelers should draft a QB and draft one high the front office felt differently showing at least some confidence in Rudolph. In his first chances as an NFL starters there were positives and negatives.

On the good side, the team was 5-3 in games he started completing 62.2% of his passes and had more touchdowns (13) than interceptions (9). He had 4 games with 0 interceptions and 5 others with 1. He also had 2 TD in 4 games, a QB rating of over 80 in 8 games and an adjusted yards per attempt of at least 6.26 in 6 games. The 500+ snaps of game experience he got were invaluable and gave him plenty of tape to digest and critique to make positive strides.

Best Game: Vs Cincinnati, 27-3 win, 24 of 28 for 229, 2 TD, 0 INT, 0 Sacks

On the negative side, of those 5 wins only one was against a winning team (Los Angeles Rams). He threw for more than 200 yards in only half of his starts and was sacked 15 times. He struggled to process the play and get the ball out quickly causing him to be hit while releasing the ball way too often and fumbled 4 times. He was also struck over the head by a 270 pound pass rusher which never helps.

Worst Game: At Cleveland, 21-7 loss, 23 of 44, 221 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT, sacked 4 times for -43 yards

Devlin Hodges – We haven’t seen a fan base take to an undrafted player like they did to Hodges in a long time. Duck became a fan favorite in a hurry being very personable and showing a lot of moxie. He saw time in 8 games and started 5 of the last 6 games. He got 376 plays of experience that no one expected and showed he can play in the NFL.

On the positive side, he was 3-3 as a third string undrafted QB, completed 62.5% of his passes and had a QB rating of 87.9 or better in his first 5 appearances. He won his first 3 starts managing the game fairly well with 3 TD and 2 INT’s in those starts.  He also showed good anticipation and a solid ability to escape the pocket gaining 68 yards on the ground.

Best Game: At Arizona, 23 – 17 win, 16 of 19 for 152, 1 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks for -17 yards, 5 carries for 34 yards

On the negative side, his last three starts were all losses combining to go 43 of 80 for 381 yards with 1 TD and 6 INTs. His average QB rating in those games was 42.9. Overall, he had 8 interceptions, fumbled 5 times and was sacked 15 times.  It seemed teams made some adjustment and Hodges struggle to be successful as the season went on.

Worst Game: Vs Buffalo, 17-10 loss, 23 of 38, 202 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs, 4 sacks for -24 yards, 1 carry for 4 yards

Paxton Lynch – The former first round pick of the Denver Broncos is the third candidate. The Steelers do love other teams former first round picks. He is the unknown of this group having not played in a game since 2017. He was the backup to Trevor Siemian in 2016 and 2017 and started 4 games for Denver.

On the positive side, he showed enough promise in college to be taken in the first round.  His last two years at Memphis he totaled 65 touchdowns (15 rushing) and 13 interceptions. He had a shot to win the starting job in 2017 but suffered a shoulder injury in the third preseason game. His career stats include a 61.7 completion percentage 4 TD’s and 4 INT’s. The front office thinks young talent can sometimes find a way to playing time and are looking forward to seeing what he’s got.

Best Game: his last start vs Kansas City, 27-24 loss, 21 of 31, 254 yards, 2 TD’s and 2 INT’s, 5 sacks for -28 yards

On the negative side, he couldn’t beat out Siemian, Brock Osweiler or Case Keenum among others and it will be 3 years since he played in a game when the season starts.  In his 4 starts he was sacked 17 times and had more interceptions (4) than TD’s (3).  After being cut in 2018 he had a short stop in Seattle before coming to Pittsburgh so the rest of the league didn’t think very highly of him.

Worst Game: At Oakland, 21-14 loss, 9 of 14, 41 yards, 1 INT, 4 sacks for -23 yards

Time to Choose

On their way too early roster predictions Alex and Dave both went with Rudolph and Lynch. Matthew went with Rudolph and Hodges. At this point I would lean toward Rudolph and Hodges.

Now it’s your turn to let us know who you would keep and who you would cut.

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