It’s a brave new world, with such people in it—the post-Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers. Never in Mike Tomlin’s profession as head coach has he ever had to give much thought going into an offseason about the quarterback position at the top of the depth chart.
Now he’s weighing Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins (and Joshua Dobbs) on the scales, and seeing if any of them even measure up in the first place. A pair of young quarterbacks whom they scouted highly coming out of college, they figure to be the frontrunners to compete for the Steelers’ starting quarterback job this summer.
Rudolph was their third-round pick in 2018, but a source no less than Kevin Colbert, their general manager, all but said they had a first-round grade on him. Dwayne Haskins was a first-round pick by Washington in 2019 whom they added on a Reserve/Future deal a little over a year ago.
Whether or not they have performance, they do have the pedigree at the position, and they have the competition, which Haskins is looking forward to, already having a good relationship with Rudolph, and with the process of competition.
“Mason’s a different guy. I love Mason. I think he has a great chance of being a guy here, too, and he’s been here for a while, so yes, I respect his ability”, the fourth-year veteran said of his fellow Steelers quarterback yesterday. “I was able to work out with Mason in the offseason last year in Orange County with John Beck. We have a relationship that was before I was able to be in the building here in Pittsburgh”.
While they came out of college one year apart, they obviously had a lot of overlapping time at that level, even if they never faced one another. But quarterbacks know the other quarterbacks. “I’ve always had respect for him from Oklahoma State. Being able to compete with him every day in practice, we both bring the best out of each other”, Haskins said.
“I feel like coming from where I came from in college, having a guy like Joe Burrow, who was there for a few years before me, having to compete against him, I feel like it brought the best out of me”, he added, referring to the Cincinnati Bengals’ starter, who was originally at Ohio State for three years before transferring to LSU and finally getting reliable opportunities to start.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do here, and I feel like that challenge will make the best opportunity for me and him to show what we can do here”, Haskins concluded. What remains to be seen is who, if anybody, the Steelers add to the competition, whether through free agency, the draft, or possibly even trade, as unlikely as it is.