For some reason, one of the biggest discussions that Pittsburgh Steelers nation is having right now is…who their number three quarterback is going to be in September. Granted, we did find out last season just how important that question could be. But we also pretty much found out that if you’re down to your third guy, you’re probably not going to be finding much success.
After the front office bypassed the quarterback position both in free agency and during the 2020 NFL Draft—with the opportunity to draft Jalen Hurts in the second round, who would later be taken by the Philadelphia Eagles behind Carson Wentz—they have set themselves up with Mason Rudolph as their number two, and a competition at the third spot.
After Ben Roethlisberger went down for the season, Devlin Hodges was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, and Paxton Lynch, who had been a street free agent since he lost out to Geno Smith for the backup job in Seattle, to the practice squad. He would later be promoted to the 53-man roster as the number three, and served as the backup for the finale after Rudolph was injured, as well as in the Week Five game, also while Rudolph was indisposed.
In spite of the fact that he never got on the field last season, the Steelers have still continued to speak about him. Recently, while on WDVE, general manager Kevin Colbert once again brought his name up while discussing the quarterback position and maintaining that the team will defer to what they have.
“We’re very comfortable with having Devlin in the mix, with having a young, big, talented guy like Paxton Lynch, who can maybe, with a full season, with OTAs, training camp, whenever that gets started, we’ll see what he’s got”, he said.
Lynch, the 26th-overall pick in 2016 by the Denver Broncos, has not exactly had the career that you would want out of a quarterback taken in the first round. He ultimately lost starting job battles to Trevor Siemian both as a rookie in 2016 and again in 2017. The following year, he was demoted to third-string behind Chad Kelly. Then the Broncos claimed Kevin Hogan off waivers prior to the start of the season and released him entirely, going unclaimed and unsigned until the following year.
Back in December, when asked if Lynch would get an opportunity to play, head coach Mike Tomlin said that he essentially didn’t have the opportunity to get him football-ready because he was brought in so late into the process.
“I don’t know that you’re capable of getting him ready in totality, to a level of comfort that we all would be comfortable with”, he said in explaining why he was going with Hodges for the finale, even after he was benched in that game. “He was the third quarterback. We had two young ones in front of him, so the readiness of those guys was more important”.
In February, Colbert said of him, “Paxton Lynch is a talented guy that’s moving into his fourth season, but he’s a talented former first-round pick, and sometimes a talented young guy finds a new home and finds a path back into the significant play, so we think Paxton could”.
While he is technically a fourth-year player, this will be the fifth season since he was drafted, since he spent the 2018 season out of football, and thus did not accrue a year.