Dwayne Haskins came into the league with the expectation that he was going to be a franchise player. That is always the expectation when a team adds a quarterback in the first round. You just don’t spend that kind of resource at the position without identifying franchise-level traits.
After losing his starting job, then a roster spot entirely, Haskins, now on his second team playing under a minimum, non-guaranteed contract, he is just happy for any opportunity that he gets to play with some first-team personnel, as he has been stuck behind Mason Rudolph in the race for backup reps throughout the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I think it’s all a business, and you have to earn those types of reps”, he told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s my first year here, so I think the opportunities that I do get, I’ve got to make the most of them so that I can get more”.
“I don’t have an expectation that I ‘need’ to have varsity reps, or I want to be with the ones and if I don’t have it I’ll be unhappy”, he added. “I don’t feel that way at all. But when I do get those reps, I look at it as an opportunity to show them why they brought me here”.
These comments came following head coach Mike Tomlin’s announcement that Haskins would start the Steelers’ final preseason game on Friday night against the Carolina Panthers, and that neither Ben Roethlisberger nor Rudolph would play in the game.
The question, though, is who else might be there with him. I would assume that at least most of the projected starting offensive line—Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, and Chukwuma Okorafor—will be out there, though perhaps not Trai Turner and/or Zach Banner.
Tomlin also said that running back Najee Harris, their first-round rookie draft pick, would not play, despite the fact that he said earlier in the offseason that the plan was for him to get work in every game. He evidently determined that Harris has gotten enough work through three games.
At wide receiver, again, it’s hard to say who will participate and who will not. JuJu Smith-Schuster didn’t play in the first preseason game, so I’m going to guess that he won’t play in this one, either. Diontae Johnson probably will. James Washington will. Chase Claypool, it’s unclear, as he did injure his ankle a week ago.
The bonus here, though, is that Haskins will get to play against starters, because this is the Panthers’ third preseason game, their ‘tune-up’ game when they get starters the most work that they are going to see before the regular season. He will likely be playing with a mix of first-and second-string players, but at least he will face quality competition.