It’s not often easy to hype up a Reserve/Future signing, but when that player is a third-year former first-round quarterback, the stories kind of write themselves. Especially when a team in a transition at the quarterback position as the Pittsburgh Steelers are is the one to sign that player to a futures deal.
That’s exactly what they did with 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, whom the Washington Football Team waived at the end of his second season a year ago. He cleared waivers, which meant that no other team was interested in him enough to warrant claiming him and his contract. He ultimately signed with the Steelers with no guaranteed money.
It’s a true kick-the-tires contract. With Ben Roethlisberger possibly being in his final season and Mason Rudolph at least a step or two removed from cementing himself into a starting role, it’s understandable that eyes are on Haskins to see what he can do.
And Noah Strackbein writes of his performances at OTAs these past few weeks that he “looked like a good quarterback”, but perhaps not good enough, at least so far. The Sports Illustrated reporter writes at AllSteelers that he has not stood out in relation to Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs.
One might hope that a player who has future franchise potential would immediately separate himself from a pair of former mid-round draft picks, but Haskins still has plenty of time to prove himself. We’re not even at minicamp yet, let alone the preseason.
The reality, though, remains that he is simply competing for a roster spot. Roethlisberger is the starter. Barring something unlikely, Rudolph is the backup. Haskins must unseat Dobbs, the four-year veteran, just to claim a place on the team as the number three.
What he does have is some experience. Over the past two years, he has started 13 games, though his numbers could certainly be better. He has completed 267 of 444 passes, just a tick above 60 percent, for 2,804 yards with a 12-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a YPA of just 6.3.
Much has been made of Washington being a bad environment for the former 15th overall pick. The optimists choose to remain hopeful that the change of scenery (he moved to within a short drive or a long walk from D.C. in ninth grade) and the rude awakening of his release would get him to turn things around.
With the talent that he possesses, he has the ability to control his narrative. It’s well and good to show well, even if not exceptionally so, during OTAs, but where he’ll really have to open eyes is during training camp and the preseason if he wants to flesh out his resume to become Roethlisberger’s successor.