The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers draft a quarterback (early) in the 2021 NFL Draft?
While the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seem to be heading toward a solution to bring him back for the 2021 season, and owner Art Rooney II has gone so far as to say that he feels that Mason Rudolph has shown that he can be a starter in this league, he also pretty much said that they want to continue to address the position.
Obviously, they are not going to sign a quarterback in free agency. They don’t have the cap space. Could they work out some kind of trade that would obviously entail Roethlisberger being released? Still very unlikely, but perhaps less impossible.
The more likely avenue is obviously drafting a quarterback, which they’ve done a couple of times recently, with Rudolph in 2018 in the third round and Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round in 2017. But of course, we’re talking about high-end prospects.
Pittsburgh does have a first-round pick this year, even if it is where it typically is, in the 20s. That’s not generally where you find franchise arms. But it’s also not impossible. And it also doesn’t stop teams from drafting quarterbacks.
And it also doesn’t preclude them from trading up, something they were willing to do in 2019 for Devin Bush. And if they feel good about the likely compensatory draft pick compensation in 2022, they could be more willing to deal some picks to move up and get their guy—whoever that is.