There is a running joke among Pittsburgh Steelers fans when it comes to the NFL Draft. Whomever the team is projected to take, someone will suggest the Cincinnati Bengals will select the player in front of the Steelers as a double edged sword.
First, they are taking a player away from a division rival, but also are adding a player the Steelers’ scouting department was extremely high on.
This story line dates back to the year Pittsburgh showed a tremendous amount of interest in Houston cornerback William Jackson III, only to have him nabbed off the board by the Bengals in front of the Steelers.
That was in the first round, and while the following 2018 NFL Draft story might not bring with it the same magnitude, it certainly is comparable.
When the Steelers acquired a third round pick from the Raiders for Martavis Bryant, they were equipped with two picks in the round. While the team waited for their turn, they saw quarterback Mason Rudolph still sitting there undrafted. The Steelers then made a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to move up and take the strong armed quarterback.
What wasn’t known at the time was how Marvin Lewis and company were prepared to select Rudolph to back up Andy Dalton, especially after losing AJ McCarron to free agency.
Lewis joked in a press conference suggesting the Steelers must have had their draft room “bugged” as they were preparing to take Rudolph.
Marvin Lewis jokes the Steelers “had the room” bugged and were discussing drafting QB Mason Rudolph before the Pittsburgh jumped ahead of them. Payback for the Bengals stealing William Jackson III a couple years ago.— Paxton Boyd (@paxton) April 28, 2018
For Rudolph, he should take comfort knowing he was selected by Pittsburgh and not Cincinnati. Not that he couldn’t win and have a career with Cincinnati, but the situation he finds himself in behind Ben Roethlisberger might be ideal.
He can learn behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback, improve his game and be ready to take over the reigns when Roethlisberger calls it a career.
Some say the Steelers “stole” Rudolph from the Bengals. I think it would be better worded to say the Steelers “saved” Rudolph from the Bengals.