Hopefully a fresh start is what QB Dwayne Haskins needs. After flaming out as a first-round pick in Washington, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to a futures contract this offseason. He’ll come into Pittsburgh not as the face of the franchise as he was before but as their #3 QB competing for a job.
And Haskins is happy for the second chance.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talked to Shawn Springs, Haskins’ mentor, who said Haskins is in a good place and ready to restart his career in Pittsburgh.
“He’s happy as a kid in a candy shop,” Springs told the Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko.
Taken 15th overall in 2019, he had a miserable first two years in Washington on and off the field. On it, he’s thrown more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (12) while compiling just a 3-10 record. And off it, he was stripped of his captaincy after violating COVID protocol by attending a strip club.
But as Mike Tomlin says, they don’t care how you got here. And Haskins will have a chance to stick in Pittsburgh, where there’s currently no competition for the #3 job. He’ll get to sit and learn behind a Hall of Famer in Ben Roethlisberger, too.
“I know he’s excited to be behind Ben and learn from Ben…normally, you could learn from a guy like Alex [Smith], but he was in a tough situation, too. Now you get to be behind Ben Roethlisberger. Despite Pittsburgh not going as far as they wanted to last year, I actually thought Ben had a pretty good year.”
Haskins will have the summer to prove he’s worth keeping around. The Steelers are slated to have five preseason games this year, including the Hall of Fame Game against Dallas, which should be his first on-field opportunity to show if he’s made any progress in his game. In our video breakdown of Haskins’ game, we noted he must improve against zone coverage. That’s where the vast majority of his interceptions have come.
Once the regular season starst, if Haskins has made the team, he figures to slot into a reserve role. But he’s also the only QB under contract for the 2022 season. Ben Roethlisberger’s new deal voids five days after the Super Bowl while Mason Rudolph is entering the final year of his contract.