The life of a #4 quarterback isn’t easy, especially when you’re a rookie. You’re trying to adjust to the NFL with few reps, soaking up everything you can on the sideline and maximize your chances when your number is called. Despite those challenges, Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB Coach Mike Sullivan is happy with the job seventh-rounder Chris Oladokun has done so far.
Sullivan spoke with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews to discuss the team’s other rookie quarterback.
“Really pleased with Chris Oladokun,” he told Matthews via the team’s YouTube channel. “He’s a guy maybe not getting as many reps right now but making the most of his opportunities and he’s picking things up.”
Quarterbacks sandwiched the Steelers’ 2022 draft class, taking Kenny Pickett with their first pick and Oladokun with their last, the first time they drafted two quarterbacks since 1968 (which, as we wrote about, is only technically true). Oladokun’s challenges are compounded by the face he’s making the jump from the FCS level, trying to adjust to the NFL level without the reps other small schoolers at other positions might be getting.
Oladokun ran as the #4 QB throughout OTAs behind starter Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and Pickett. While we don’t know exactly how many reps Oladokun is getting, it likely isn’t many. During training camp last year, we tracked the number of reps in team drills each QB got, including fourth-stringer Josh Dobbs, and it proved to be a big disparity between the top and bottom.
Mason Rudolph: 215
Dwayne Haskins: 200
Ben Roethlisberger: 166
Josh Dobbs: 88
Dobbs received a fraction of what the others did. Keep in mind Dobbs got extra snaps on days Roethlisberger only partially practiced or sat out entirely. This year, there are no veteran rest days. Pittsburgh will give Trubisky and Pickett as many reps possible to evaluate their new arms, likely leaving Oladokun to pick up scraps.
But Oladokun has natural talent, a good arm and mobility, and he’s a battle-tested player used to picking up new systems. He played at two different high schools and three colleges: USF, Samford, and South Dakota State. Learning on the fly isn’t anything new for him. His reps will continue to be slim throughout the summer but it’s good to hear he’s maximizing his chances. That’s all a #4 QB can do.