With training camp just around the corner, it’s time to turn our focus on what is going on within each position, and on the roster as a whole. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be taking a closer look at some of the roster battles that we expect to see unfold over the course of training camp as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for the start of the 2022 season.
Unlike last season, which was carried out through a pandemic, things should return much closer to normal this year, including a relocation back to Latrobe, which should help provide us with clearer insights into where people stand. Which is a good thing, considering how many outstanding questions there are both in the starting lineup and within positions.
Up for Grabs: Roster Spot
In the Mix: Mason Rudolph, Chris Oladokun
There are some things that we do know about the quarterback position for the Pittsburgh Steelers entering training camp. We know that they are going to carry three on the 53-man roster. We know that Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett are going to be two of the three. Beyond that, is degrees of confidence and speculation.
The broad consensus is that Trubisky is probably going to open the regular season as the starter in 2022, and maybe even spend the whole season in the lineup, but Pickett could make a push at any team and seize the job. Or Trubisky could struggle.
We can’t entirely dismiss the possibility of Mason Rudolph managing to capitalize on his reps and claiming the starting job for himself, either. But the more expected competition is that between him and rookie seventh-round draft choice Chris Oladokun for the third and final quarterback spot on the roster.
There are a lot of variables at play here. Trubisky should be assumed to be no worse than the number two, but there is the possibility that the Steelers want to start Pickett out as the number three quarterback at the beginning of his career, meaning that he would not even dress as the backup on game days.
In that case, if the coaches don’t feel like he’s ready for the potential of being put on the field at the start of the season, Rudolph is going to need to be asked to stick around. Because if Pickett isn’t going to be the backup, Oladokun isn’t, either.
But Oladokun could be the number three quarterback, if they are confident in Trubisky and Pickett being able to fill the top two slots of the depth chart. And if the Steelers like what they see from the North Dakota product, who offers a more mobile skill set than what they can get from Rudolph and perhaps better reflects the direction Matt Canada wants to take this offense, then he has a chance to stick.
The other factor is perceived value. If another team around the league wants to offer the Steelers something for Rudolph, that could end up being a crucial factor in deciding who the third quarterback will be. And this could even unfold in-season. If they, for example, keep Oladokun on the practice squad, but an injury occurs and somebody wants to give the Steelers a fifth-round pick for Rudolph, they could pull the trigger then, like they did with Joshua Dobbs in 2019.