Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: QB Mason Rudolph
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: As has been par for the course, members of the Steelers brass were vocal in their support of the idea that Mason Rudolph is a good young quarterback who has the potential to be a starter, as echoed in general manager Kevin Colbert’s comments yesterday.
In spite of the fact that he spent nearly 40 minutes combined yesterday speaking with different groups of members of the media, general manager Kevin Colbert barely got around to commenting directly on many players individually and how the team viewed them.
One of the very few players about whom he did make some comment was Mason Rudolph, the fourth-year quarterback who has made nine starts over the course of his career. Only one of those starts came in 2020, in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns.
While it came in a losing effort, he did well in playing from behind, showing both the willingness and ability to attack the ball down the field, connecting on a few deep balls that, despite going up against a diminished secondary, were very nice throws irrespective of competition level.
Colbert called that Browns came “very encouraging”, giving him credit for playing with some backups on a team with nothing to play for, while Cleveland, despite having some health issues, were fighting tooth and nail to make their first postseason appearance since 2002.
“Hopefully we get to see Mason take some more steps, and whatever role he has, and whatever playing time he gets, be it preseason or regular season or whatever”, the general manager added, while having also made some hesitant remarks about Ben Roethlisberger’s future as the quarterback of the team.
Earlier in the offseason, owner Art Rooney II echoed prior remarks in stating that he believes Rudolph has the talent to be a starter. He would almost surely be the starter if Roethlisberger walks away—or they walk away from Roethlisberger—but even if he does return, if he struggles, there is a plausible scenario in which they insert Rudolph. Just look at Peyton Manning’s final season.