Seems crazy, but after the Le’Veon Bell contract negotiations, and the James Harrison comments regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff, Mason Rudolph-mania has certainly died down throughout the offseason.
For those longing for some good news, and optimistic outlooks, on the Steelers’ third round draft pick out of Oklahoma State — look no further.
In a recent ESPN Insiders article, NFL Insiders were asked which NFL rookie is in the best position for long-term success. You’ll never guess who was selected by one of the panel.
See what KC Joyner had to say about Rudolph, and why he was the pick over other rookie quarterbacks around the league:
Unlike every other team that has one of the star rookie quarterbacks, the Steelers don’t ask their field general to be a savior. They know how to surround their passer with top-flight skill position talent and know how to build strong offensive blocking walls. Rudolph also should have the luxury of time before he ends up taking over for Ben Roethlisberger.
The key statement in the above paragraph is when Joyner speaks about time. Barring something catastrophic, Rudolph should have plenty of time to develop under center, study the nuances of the NFL game and learn from one of the best quarterbacks of his generation in Ben Roethlisberger.
However, you have to wonder just what the Steelers team as a whole might resemble if/when Rudolph does take the helm at quarterback. With Roethlisberger out of the picture, an aging, and expensive, offensive line will have new faces, Le’Veon Bell almost certainly will be gone and Antonio Brown will be at, or near, the end of his current contract. Needless to say, the offense will have a much different look to it than what fans are witnessing every game currently.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t take away the fact Rudolph will have pieces around him to succeed. Young players like JuJu Smith-Schuster, and former college teammate James Washington will be weapons at his disposal, and it isn’t as if the Steelers will suddenly lose their ability to draft quality offensive players.
I believe I speak for most Steelers fans when I say the excitement around the Mason Rudolph era in the Steel City is real, but hopefully not for a few more years. Ben Roethlisberger gives the team the best chance to win, and while it will be a sad day when No. 7 hangs up the cleats for good, for the first time since 2004 there might just be something to look forward to at the quarterback position.