Maybe it’s all those years of watching Ben Roethlisberger but Steelers’ Team President Art Rooney II believes Mason Rudolph is mobile enough to work in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense.
Sitting down with Channel 4’s Andrew Stockey, Rooney assessed Rudolph’s game.
“I think Mason, number one, is somebody that we feel comfortable with that is excited about coming in and competing for this position this year,” Rooney said in the interview with WTAE. “He does have some mobility and has shown it from time to time. He may not fit the definition of some mobile quarterbacks out there that really rely on their legs to make a difference, but I think that he’s mobile enough to get the job done. There are different degrees of mobility and we’ll be looking at guys that have different abilities.”
Rudolph certainly isn’t the conventional definition of a mobile quarterback. He ran a pedestrian 4.90 40 at the 2018 NFL Combine and certainly hasn’t been a major threat with his legs when he’s seen the field for the Steelers. But, he has flashed a little more movement skills than you might expect and for weeks last season, had the longest rush by a Steeler, a 26-yard scamper against the Detroit Lions. He finished the year with five carries for 53 yards.
Still, he’s not much of a threat to make plays with his legs and is mobile only in the basic, functional sense. It is more mobility than Roethlisberger’s final years, who became one of the league’s least mobile runners. But Rooney’s comments should be seen as an endorsement for Rudolph’s chances of starting in 2022. Pittsburgh is certain to bring in competition and whoever they add will also be mobile, probably moreso than what Rudolph brings to the table.
The top quarterbacks in the draft all bring varying degrees of playmaking ability with their legs. Liberty’s Malik Willis tops the list but names like Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder can run as well. Mobile free agent options include the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, and Marcus Mariota.
Despite Rooney’s praise, he acknowledged the need to find a long-term replacement for Roethlisberger, the Steelers’ starter for 18 years.
“We certainly we want somebody that can grow into someone who’s thought of as the franchise quarterback. Whether that person is described that way on day one or not, you never know. But certainly that’s the goal to have somebody that fits that description, that they’re considered the franchise quarterback.”