If you had to choose one name today to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 1 starter in 2022, it’d have to be Mason Rudolph. If only because he is the only quarterback under contract right now. But the QB room will include at least three more names by the time the team starts it spring work. And Rudolph will be in a tight battle for the starting gig.
Rudolph joined Jim Rome on The Jim Rome Show Friday and was asked if he’s expecting the quarterback job to be earned, not given, this summer.
“Yes, I think for sure,” Rudolph told Rome. “There’s always gonna be competition no matter if we draft somebody, if we bring somebody else in. I’m never gonna shy away from that. That’s an obvious component. We know where they’re gonna add to the room, right? So I’m excited to compete and looking forward to the opportunity.”
Before free agency begins, the team is expected to tender restricted free agent Dwayne Haskins, making him the second quarterback to officially get under contract. Haskins, like Rudolph, spent all of 2021 in the Steelers’ system, giving them a baseline leg up on any outside competition.
From there, the team is almost certain to add a veteran arm. That will come either from free agency, names like Mitch Trubisky and Teddy Bridgewater being options, or via a trade, where the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo is the most likely name to get moved.
The Steelers will certainly look at drafting a quarterback at the top of April’s draft. Liberty’s Malik Willis and Pitt’s Kenny Pickett seem to be the top two names on the team’s list. Any rookie would be in the mix but likely wouldn’t enter year one with the expectation of being the Steelers’ starter.
Regardless of what the Steelers do, Rudolph is focused on maximizing his offseason. He joined Rome in California where he says he spends two months of every offseason training and tweaking his game.
“I like to come out here two months out of the year when the season ends and work on some mechanical things. Some tweaks, arm slot, mechanics, throwing the ball on the run, trying to improve, one, five percent to try to get that edge. And I’ve done that the last four offseasons with the guys at 3DQB working out.”
3DB is a training facility in Huntington Beach led by well-known trainer Tom House, who Rudolph has worked with for many years. Rudolph has shown improvement year-by-year but will need to take another leap to cement himself as the Steelers’ starter come the fall.
Check out the whole interview with Rome below.