It’s clear Mike Tomlin wants the Pittsburgh Steelers next quarterback to be a mobile one. Cam Heyward thinks that’s a good idea. Heyward would know. He was tasked with tackling the likes of Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen all last year.
Heyward joined NFL Network Thursday to discuss the Steelers’ hypothetical future quarterback.
“I buy it,” he told NFLN’s Andrew Siciliano. “Everybody wants that squeaky new toy. Now everybody wants that mobile quarterback. It’s no longer just a trend anymore. It’s become a pretty requisite now to be able to run the ball.”
Now that Tom Brady has retired, nearly all of the top quarterbacks in today’s game have some level of mobility. Jackson, Mahomes, Allen, Joe Burrow, even an old quarterback like Aaron Rodgers is capable of escaping and running in order to throw. It’s something Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t do his final two years in the league. His bad knees were always a bigger problem than his elbow surgery.
Pittsburgh doesn’t need to have the league’s most dynamic runner on its roster. But mobility creates more options for the offense and more headaches for the defense.
“We have so many RPOs and you wanna be able to stretch the field. What better way to take advantage of those cover two looks than be able to run the ball down the field with a quarterback?”
The key to beating the Steelers last year was playing two-high and still stopping the run. Doing that eliminated everything Pittsburgh’s offense could do. They were unable to run the ball and against two-high looks, couldn’t take the 1v1 shots away from the deep safety. Mobile quarterbacks can beat looser coverage with their legs and are able to do damage when defenses play man coverage and their backs are turned to the quarterback. It’s harder to blitz and teams generally get less creative against dual threats.
This draft class has a wide-ranging level of mobility but aside from Nevada’s Carson Strong, has quarterbacks who can move. Liberty’s Malik Willis is the most dynamic of the bunch and Heyward noted his brother Connor knows Willis a little bit, both being Georgia natives. In fact, they played high school about an hour away from each other. So while Cameron may be giving the Steelers the inside track on Connor, perhaps the Heywards can offer some info on the Steelers’ potential future quarterback.