The Pittsburgh Steelers added two high-end quarterbacks to the roster in Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, but the Steelers weren’t done re-making their quarterback position with those two candidates for the starting quarterback job.
The Steelers like to have four quarterbacks for their offseason camps and workouts and with only Mason Rudolph returning from the 2021 quarterback room, the Steelers chose to add a fourth quarterback through the draft with their final pick when they selected Chris Oladokun from South Dakota State.
With three higher pedigree quarterbacks already on the roster, what does Chris Oladokun bring to the Steelers, and does he have a real chance of turning his offseason roster spot into a place on the team when the season begins?
Let’s look at the film.
South Dakota State vs. Sacramento State, FCS Playoffs, second round
Chris Oladokun has a quick release, good accuracy and arm strength, and here shows he can get a pass out decently in rhythm. He doesn’t throw this ball before the receiver makes his break, but does get it out immediately after, and the ball gets to the target in time for a catch to be made.
Oladokun in the pocket thrives when the play is timing based and his main read is clear. His quick release and good accuracy on short throws is on display again here.
A good on target throw, showing good arm strength and he leads his receiver away from the defender. You can see the tools that led the Steelers to draft Oladokun, he certainly has potential as a passer, even if he isn’t refined and his level of competition and number of times he changed teams to get the chance to play aren’t positives.
Oladokun is also athletic and a good scrambler, here no one is open and Oladokun takes off to convert a 3rd and 6 with his legs.
You can see here that when the traffic in front of him is messy he can struggle to come up with a plan, and his peripheral awareness isn’t the best, he doesn’t notice the defenders until he looks at them.
Chris Oladokun transferred to South Dakota State to be the experienced quarterback leading a really good team in desperate need of a quarterback. Oladokun led them to an upset of 4th ranked Sacramento State in the FCS Playoffs, and South Dakota State ended up making it to the semi-finals with Oladokun.
After the season, Oladokun was invited to take part in the NFL Players Association Bowl, designed to give players that were overlooked in other draft-prep-bowls and the combine a chance to shine.
One of the main things the coaches at the NFLPA Bowl wanted Oladokun to do is take snaps from under center, something he did not do in college. It’s clear he has worked at his footwork from under center, and when the play works, he shows the ability to take his drop and get a throw out in time and accurately.
This play shows one of the chief problems with Chris Oladokun’s game. This is a simple route combo, where the outside receiver runs the slot defender back, opening up a short pass to the slot. Oladokun sees the clear route work and makes the throw. What Chris Oladokun doesn’t see is the linebacker waiting for the slot receiver and the throw.
Oladokun tends to lock onto whatever he is looking at and miss the overall picture, that shows up as a runner and a passer.
Here the start under center and the play action takes Chris Oladokun’s eyes off the defense, and as he turns, he sees the defender coming free and throws an ill-advised pass that is intercepted. Out of a shotgun set he would be able to see the defender much earlier, but with his inexperience on plays like this, he is unprepared and makes what looks like a panic throw.
Chris Oladokun shows the raw traits to become an NFL quarterback. He has the athleticism, arm strength, release and accuracy to be a quality NFL quarterback, but he lacks a lot of the skills necessary to make use of those abilities. The Steelers will give him a chance to develop in an NFL camp. I am skeptical he can grow enough in his decision making and awareness to convince the Steelers to part with one of their top three quarterbacks, and if he can’t earn the No. 3 quarterback spot, he won’t be a Pittsburgh Steeler in September.