As the Pittsburgh Steelers kick off mandatory minicamp Tuesday afternoon at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side in the final big installment of the summer months before the start of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, all eyes will continue to be glued to the quarterback competition this week.
Though nothing will be truly determined during football-in-shorts sessions in the next three days, the attention paid to the premium position will not subside anytime soon, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, who highlighted the quarterback competition as the Steelers’ minicamp storyline to watch Monday.
Coming out of OTAs in the last two weeks, veteran free agent signee Mitch Trubisky received the bulk of the first-team reps, while veteran backup quarterback Mason Rudolph worked with the second team, and rookie first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett and seventh-round draft pick Chris Oladokun worked with the third team, showing a clear early pecking order under center.
“What else but the quarterbacks? This battle is just getting started,” Pryor writes, highlighting the QB competition for ESPN. “Mitch Trubisky took first-team reps throughout OTAs, followed by Mason Rudolph with the second unit and first-round pick Kenny Pickett with the third. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, though, and the Steelers will be putting all three in game-like simulations throughout the offseason to determine their next starting quarterback.”
The battle for the starting quarterback job in Pittsburgh certainly is a marathon, not a sprint, but the pace is starting to pick up as the start of training camp approaches quickly. Though nothing will truly be determined one way or another in minicamp at the position, it will be interesting to see the breakdown in reps as the team is ramping up the installation phase of the playbook.
It remains pretty clear that it’s Trubisky’s job to lose at the moment, which lines up with the contract he received in free agency. He’ll get every shot at the starting job possible, considering his fit in second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s system and his overall experience in the NFL to date.
That said, Pickett has an outside shot at winning the job in training camp with great play, and it is unwise to write off Rudolph entirely in this race, considering his familiarity within the system, the coaching staff and the talent around him.
It can be a little unnerving thinking about a quarterback competition in the Steel City, but it’s exciting at the same time. It will be worth watching all summer long leading up to the Sept. 11 opener on the road against Cincinnati.