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Ben Roethlisberger’s return could make the Steelers more likely to draft a quarterback

Veteran quarterbacks mentoring rookies is a tried and tested formula

2020 NCAA Division I Football Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Ben Roethlisberger sent shockwaves across Steelers nation and across the NFL when his agent proclaimed that the future hall of famer will be back with the organization in 2021. With some fans thinking the Steelers quarterback depth chart is locked down for next season, I see it slightly differently.

The most glaring fact we know about the Steelers quarterback position is that none of the players currently on the roster have a contract in 2022. Mason Rudolph will eventually be a blind commodity, as he never really got to show what he is capable of, and I almost expect him to play elsewhere after this season. Dwayne Haskins will be a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) but is just fighting to even make the team in 2021.

And it already looks like Ben Roethlisberger will ride off into the sunset after next season.

Another thing we know about the college quarterbacks moving into the next couple drafts is there is no real generation type talent rising through the ranks until about 2026 when Arch Manning (Peyton and Eli’s nephew) will hear his name get called. The most talented quarterback class for the foreseeable future is right here in 2021. Quarterbacks like Justin Fields or Trey Lance would have been the number one overall pick in 2022, had they stayed in school. And those guys are viewed as the third and fourth best quarterbacks in this year’s class.

Here’s why all of this matters for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

We already know the organization’s feelings towards throwing a rookie out on the field on Day 1. It just doesn't happen. And, the 2022 quarterback free agent class leaves much to be desired. If they are planning on being Super Bowl contenders, they need to find their future quarterback here and now. The formula of bringing in a high draft pick to sit behind a starting quarterback is a tested formula that nearly every prominent quarterback in this league experienced. From Patrick Mahomes, to Justin Herbert, and Aaron Rodgers. Guys are not just given the starting duties.

If someone, specifically Trey Lance, slips out of the Top 10, the Steelers need to consider making an aggressive push to climb the draft boards to get him. This would be the perfect situation for both Lance and the Steelers. The biggest knock on Trey Lance’s game is he lacks experience, thanks to the FCS cancelling all but one of North Dakota State’s games this year. For the Steelers, it would mean getting to mold Lance to the Matt Canada system while getting to watch how a hall of fame quarterback prepares in the NFL. I’m not sure there is a better situation across the NFL for Trey Lance to be brought into.

You also have to remember with the Steelers defense and a retuning Ben Roethlisberger, I don’t imagine the Steelers will dip anywhere near below .500. Meaning they will, at minimum, be selecting in the high teens and in a poor position to draft a top quarterback, from an already weaker class.

So what do you think? Can you see the Steelers making an aggressive move at the draft to land their future quarterback? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.