The Pittsburgh Steelers’ decision to sign Dwayne Haskins in January was met with far more fare than your typical Reserve/Future contract announcement generates, for obvious reasons. For one thing, he is a quarterback at a time where the team is entering a transition at the position. For another, he’s a young former first-round draft pick.
He represents a low-risk, high-reward opportunity that naturally lends itself to intrigue, and his name has been brought up frequently whenever the future of the Steelers has been discussed. It’s only now, in the past week or so, that we’ve finally gotten the opportunity to see him on the field, and for him to really interact with his teammates, like wide receiver James Washington.
“He’s a people person. Even if he doesn’t know you, he’ll come up to you and introduce himself and try to start a conversation and get to know people”, he told reporters regarding Haskins while speaking after OTAs today. “That’s one of the main things that stuck out to me. I think he’s a great person. He just needs guys that’ll stick around him and help him out”.
The 15th-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by Washington, Haskins has started 13 of 16 games in his two-year career, going 3-10. He has completed 267 of 444 pass attempts for 2804 yards with 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.
Washington decided to let him go on December 29 of last year, following a series of struggles, as well as some off-field concerns—most notably, he attended a makeshift hotel ‘strip club’ during the season in violation of the league’s Covid-19 protocols.
It has often been discussed that Haskins needs to be in a better environment, and that Washington was not the best fit for the Maryland native, surrounded by the same elements in which he grew up. His former head coach, Ron Rivera, and teammate, quarterback Alex Smith, have expressed optimism about his future if he can ordinate himself and stay focused.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been impressed with Haskins on the field so far, telling reporters yesterday that “his release and throwing motion mechanics are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen”, and telling his new quarterbacks coach, Mike Sullivan, “I wish I had that”.
But the former first-round pick will be competing this year for the number three quarterback job in Pittsburgh with Joshua Dobbs. Mason Rudolph is the Steelers’ backup, for now, but one never knows how things turn out down the road. His most immediate priority is winning a roster spot, but once that’s secured, he can concern himself with long-term prospects.