After watching longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retire this offseason after 18 years at the helm of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense, the organization has thrown a number of assets at the position in recent months, signing Mitch Trubisky in free agency, and spending the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Pittsburgh star Kenny Pickett.
The two join a quarterback room featuring Mason Rudolph, who has 10 career starts for the Steelers, and also saw seventh-round quarterback Chris Oladokun added to the roster last Saturday, allowing the Steelers to carry four quarterbacks into training camp after the tragic loss of Dwayne Haskins April 9.
With three experienced quarterbacks on the roster in Trubisky, Rudolph, and now Pickett — with his 49 career college starts — the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin believe that a quarterback competition lies ahead between the three. Appearing on the Rich Eisen Show Wednesday afternoon, Tomlin stated he believes it will be a “fierce” competition among the three competitors, one that he’s looking forward to watching play out in Latrobe later this summer for the right to be the next Steelers’ starting quarterback.
“Yeah, I expect it to be fierce because I know all three guys, I don’t expect anyone to take a backseat,” Tomlin said to Eisen, according to audio via audacy.com. “From a structure standpoint, man, are we providing enough of a platform for all the guys to show what they’re capable of? And so, that’s gonna be the challenge component of it. I’m excited about watching these guys compete, man, just like I am at any position where you got some viable options. And so, you know, we’ll proceed with that, understanding that it’s gonna be challenging from an organization standpoint, but it’s a good challenge. And I’m excited about watching those guys perform.”
While Tomlin believes the competition will be “fierce” overall, there’s a clear top two when it comes to the competition, with Trubisky and Pickett in the running overall. Rudolph is very clearly viewed as QB3 on the roster at the moment, and stands a better chance of being dealt for a late-round 2023 draft pick prior to Week 1 than he does winning the starting quarterback job, especially after the resources the Steelers threw at Trubisky and Pickett.
Though replacing a Hall of Fame quarterback like Roethlisberger is never easy, the Steelers overall have done a nice job attempting to remain competitive at the position in the ensuing years with Trubisky and Pickett, both of whom fit second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s offensive scheme a heck of a lot better than Roethlisberger did last season. How that will affect the Steelers’ performance overall offensively on the field remains to be seen, but it’s hard to not feel a bit more optimistic about a Canada-led offense heading into the 2022 season with guys like Trubisky and Pickett in the building, considering their skillsets and overall makeup.
How the Steelers see fit to divide up all the reps in minicamp, OTAs and Training Camp will certainly be worth watching and noting, especially as the start of the season draws near. For the first time in a long time, the Steelers will have a quarterback competition. Buckle up.