In case you haven't already heard, there is a bit of speculation the Pittsburgh Steelers are interested in selecting a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. Rumors abound, but the idea seems to have caught on with everyone from the national sports media to the players themselves. That is to be expected when your franchise quarterback for the past 18 seasons decides to retire, and the franchise lacks a proven commodity to replace him.
It's no secret the Steelers are planning on going into training camp with four quarterbacks on the depth chart. After the Steelers recently signed free agent Mitchell Trubisky, they now have three on the roster with Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins rounding out said depth chart. While it's anybody's guess on the order, one would assume Trubisky will enter training camp as the projected starter based on salary and experience alone.
Rudolph and Haskins will supposedly get the opportunity to compete for the starting gig, but it is far more likely they will be competing against each other for the right to be Trubisky's backup, assuring themselves a helmet on game day. The loser in this battle to be the backup will have to fight to remain number three on the depth chart, if even on the active roster.
Trubisky would seem securely entrenched as the lead man based on the aforementioned criteria, but the order of the depth chart could be greatly altered if the Steelers select a Top 5 prospect in the first couple rounds of the draft. All of this year's quarterback prospects are universally viewed as projects needing a little time and seasoning before being thrust into a starting role.
However, even though any youngster chosen would need to be groomed for a period of time behind the starter, that doesn't mean they wouldn't be capable enough to knock Rudolph and/or Haskins down a rung on the ladder, leaving one of them on the trading block, or the practice squad.
That's another reason I hope all the Steelers quarterbacks ball out and have productive preseason performances, because that is the best way for them to maximize their overall value for the Steelers.
There are always multiple teams looking for talented quarterbacks at any moment of the season. Whether it be due to retirement, injuries, or ineffectiveness; there is always a need.
Take Mitch Trubisky for example. He was considered by many to be a bust after being drafted 2nd overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, even though he helped lead them to two playoff appearances in his five years with the team. He signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills last season, where he backed up their franchise quarterback Josh Allen.
Although he didn't see any meaningful live action with the Bills in 2021, after being considered a disappointment by the Chicago Bears, his value increased exponentially during his season on the sidelines. He went from being a free agent hardly in high demand, to a free agent considered by most to have starting potential, after basically a season of inactivity. Supply and demand at it's finest.
At this moment, there isn't much demand in the quarterback market leading up to the draft. That could change, depending on how the draft pans out for quarterback needy teams. In all likelihood, the market will heat up substantially during training camp and the preseason, once injuries and ineffectiveness become apparent.
If Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins enjoy productive preseasons, showcasing the ability to process and execute Matt Canada's offense successfully, they could very well increase their perceived value around the league. Maybe not to the degree Trubisky did, but enough to bring the Steelers something substantial in any trade proposal.
Similar to how former Steelers QB Joshua Dobbs netted the Steelers a fifth round selection after being traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars early in the 2019 NFL season after starting quarterback Nick Foles went down with a broken clavicle. Keep in mind, Dobbs didn't have anywhere near the starting experience of both Rudolph and Haskins possess on their resumes.
Haskins is the wild card with the biggest upside to potentially net the Steelers the greatest return via trade. The former 15th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft by Washington, Haskins has prototypical size and elite level arm talent, hence the first round selection. However, he has displayed questionable decision making, both on and off field.
Many Steelers fans were hopeful a year in the Steelers culture would help Haskins with some serious maturity issues. While it's impossible to know the impact, if any, from a year in the Steelers organization, the good news is there haven't been any issues to speak of during his tenure in Pittsburgh.
There have been plenty of players who have overcome rough starts to their careers through determination and hard work. Those qualities have been a common denominator in basically all of those success stories. A certain amount of commitment and maturity has to be present, just as important as the overall talent.
If Haskins can display the needed attributes to go with all his arm talent, he might become a hot commodity on the quarterback market. Everybody wins in that situation.