In just a few short weeks, all eyes will be focused on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback competition, which is set to fully kick into gear once the black and gold hit the field at Chuck Noll Field at Saint Vincent College at the end of July.
After watching Ben Roethlisberger ride off into the sunset of retirement after 18 seasons with the Steelers, the attention now shifts to the three-way quarterback competition between free agent signee Mitch Trubisky, first-round pick Kenny Pickett, and incumbent veteran Mason Rudolph for the starting job under longtime head coach Mike Tomlin.
The battle for the starting job will be the biggest training camp battle for the Steelers at the position dating back to at least the 1996 season, when the likes of Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomczak, and Jim Miller found themselves in a competition for the starting job under Bill Cowher.
Now, 26 years later, the Steelers are in a similar situation once again. According to CBS Sports, the Steelers’ quarterback competition is the top training camp battle at the position across the NFL, which also includes battles in San Francisco, Cleveland, Carolina, Seattle, and Atlanta.
“This one isn’t getting as much national attention as it warrants, being the only legit competition for a team built to remain in the playoff mix,” CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin writes. “Pickett is the hotter name, entering as the team’s first Day 1 QB pick since Ben Roethlisberger, not to mention with local roots and a history at Heinz Field. Trubisky, meanwhile, at least offers the mobility their offense lacked under center in 2021, and has the benefit of NFL experience. Mike Tomlin’s choice for the kickoff to another brawl for the AFC North will be noteworthy.”
It actually feels like the competition under center in Pittsburgh is getting a ton of national attention overall, considering it’s talked about constantly. It helps that for the first time in nearly two decades someone other than Roethlisberger will be the face of the Steelers’ offense from the quarterback position.
Trubisky brings with him a pedigree as the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. Though he’s struggled throughout his career in the NFL, he’s still a relatively big name at the position, one who has won 29 career games as a starting quarterback.
That said, Pickett is the hot name, as Benjamin points out. He’s the ideal future for the Steelers at the position, considering they drafted him with the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Already a star in Pittsburgh for the Panthers, Pickett now gets the chance to remain a star in his adopted hometown, this time with the Steelers.
Don’t discount Rudolph either. In his fifth season with the team, and second season in Matt Canada’s offensive scheme, Rudolph brings starting experience to the table as well, and could have a leg up on the two new quarterbacks due to his familiarity within Canada’s scheme.
It’s going to be a hotly contested quarterback battle at Saint Vincent in late July and early August, one that will have the NFL’s attention from start to finish.