From a global perspective, it’s generally true that whenever you are a team with a need at the quarterback position, even if it’s not the most immediate need, it is your biggest need. That’s the boat the Pittsburgh Steelers are sailing through the 2021 season on. With something of a potential lame-duck Ben Roethlisberger along for the ride for one more season.
Whether or not a future beyond 2021 is even up for discussion with Roethlisberger, we can’t say for sure. The odds are good this is his last year, and the Steelers are prepared for that. But do they have their quarterback of the future? If not, can they find one this year?
Given they don’t have the draft firepower to trade up — nevermind the fact that the top three quarterbacks are destined to go 1-2-3 this year — the answer is a resounding… probably not. Of course, there is the possibility of a non-first-round pick developing into a franchise quarterback. Recent history suggests it probably won’t happen. John Clayton thinks it would be a waste for the team at this time.
“No, they want to win now,” he said on 93.7 The Fan, when asked if they would look to add a mid-tier quarterback in the draft. “You worry about the quarterback position later. They’ve got Ben Roethlisberger.”
“They do have a young quarterback in Dwayne Haskins. They still have two other quarterbacks. So I think it would be almost useless to do something like that,” he added. “This quarterback that they would take, in the fourth, fifth, sixth round, is he going to be able to start at some point? And the answer’s no.”
The other two quarterbacks not named, of course, are Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs. Rudolph has been the Steelers’ primary backup for the past two seasons. Dobbs has spent three of his four seasons in Pittsburgh, one as the primary backup in 2018.
Pittsburgh picked Dobbs in the fourth round in 2017, while taking Rudolph in the third a year later. The Steelers signed Haskins, a first-round pick by the Washington Football Team in 2019, to a Reserve/Future contract in January. The fact that he was even available obviously tells you a lot about how his career has gone.
It’s clear that the Steelers probably don’t have their quarterback of the future on the current roster. It’s also clear that their readily available options do not put them in a good position to land a player who is likely to be able to develop into a franchise quarterback.
As a result, I’m in agreement with Clayton here. It doesn’t make much sense to add a quarterback for the sake of doing so when you are playing in a very limited window. If you expect this to be Roethlisberger’s last season and intend to do everything possible to win with this roster, then using a valuable draft resource on somebody who won’t contribute to that at all is a luxury they can’t afford.