Few offenses were as lackluster throwing the ball downfield as the Pittsburgh Steelers were in 2021. And though seventh-round pick QB Chris Oladokun isn’t going to solve that in the regular season, he could make some noise – and splash – this summer. Speaking to Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, Oladokun said he loves pushing the ball downfield.
“You look at my film, the ability to use my legs and get out of trouble if need be,” he told Matthews via the team’s YouTube channel. “Evading the rushes and making off-platform throws. Pushing the ball downfield and creating explosive plays, that’s what makes the game fun for me. Making the big splash play, especially when your team needs it…it’s what I look to bring to this organization.”
Big plays were something severely lacking in the Steelers’ offense last year, run and pass game. Pittsburgh had just 43 runs of 10+ yards, ranking 23rd in the league. Najee Harris averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and a new and young offensive line struggled to open consistent running lanes for him. The passing game was even more of a tooth pull with just 41 completions of 20+ yards, tied for 27th in the league. In Ben Roethlisberger’s final year, the offense was conservative, quick to throw, and the shots they did take downfield often fell flat.
This graphic from The 33rd Team outlined how poor the Steelers’ offense was at creating chunk plays.
% of Yards Each NFL Team has gained from Explosive Plays in Wins vs Losses
(Explosives = Passes 15+ and Runs of 10+) pic.twitter.com/OsWC9U3TAx
— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) May 30, 2022
Oladokun’s description meshes well with what Matt Canada’s offense demands and what the NFL needs. He’s mobile and able to throw on the run and off-platform, which will be important in Canada’s bootleg-based offense. He has a live arm and should make some downfield plays this summer.
His mobility will also be an asset and bail him out of bad situations, times when the pocket breaks down, when there’s a blitz off the edge, when the secondary plasters and everyone is covered. Similar to the way it served Josh Dobbs well, Oladokun’s above-average mobility will help him as he adjusts to the pro game, especially making the jump from the FCS level.