Steelers News

Fittipaldo Not Expecting 3rd QB To Come From Draft, Puts Return Of Mason Rudolph As Less Unlikely

The Pittsburgh Steelers have two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. When they had that same number at the position entering the 2022 NFL Draft, they ended up drafting two—one in the first round and one in the seventh.

What will they do this year? The Steelers have acknowledged that they don’t have a clear plan about how they will address the third quarterback position but have left the possibility of the draft open. All they do know is that they have their top two guys in Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky.

But what is the sense on the beat? Andrew Fillipponi posed the scenario to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette during a recent appearance on 93.7 The Fan: Is it more likely that the Steelers draft a quarterback or re-sign Mason Rudolph?

Fittipaldo seemed to feel strongly enough that the Steelers won’t use a draft pick on a quarterback that he weighed in it was more likely to see Rudolph back. And in fairness, with each passing day, the odds of that happening become more likely. Clearly, there isn’t much of a market for him.

“I wouldn’t say better than 50/50”, though, he said about the proposal of Rudolph finding his way back to Pittsburgh. “I just think, who knows what they’ll do with their late-round picks? Those are basically throwaway picks. They could draft a quarterback, but they got Devlin Hodges in an undrafted free agent tryout. There’s all kinds of ways to get a third or even a fourth quarterback arm into camp. I’m not saying they’re not worried about it, but I don’t think it’s very high on their list of needs right now”.

Of course, it’s not high on their list of needs, even for a team like the Steelers that, at least historically, has been fixed to the notion of carrying three quarterbacks. They do have a strong top two, with an established young starter and a talented veteran backup.

Yet at the same time, that backup is only under contract through 2023 and is very likely to want to look for another opportunity elsewhere if anyone is willing to offer Trubisky even a possibility of starting again. Because that’s not happening in Pittsburgh, at least not by 2024.

If the Steelers did find a quarterback whom they felt could develop into a very strong long-term backup option, something that they’ve done multiple times with Landry Jones and then Joshua Dobbs—they actually appeared to believe Rudolph would or could be a starter—then I wouldn’t be shocked by such a selection.

After all, remember, their draft picks were as much at a premium relative to their roster holes a year ago as they are now. And they still used a seventh-round draft pick on Chris Oladokun, a fourth-arm quarterback who hardly got a chance to work in training camp. At least in this case it would be for a third-string quarterback.

It’s too bad Duck retired.

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