The Steelers quarterback (QB) room is finally filled up after two talents were selected in last week’s NFL Draft. Good thing too. After long-time starter Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, and the unbelievably tragic loss of Dwayne Haskins in early April, only one signal caller from the 2021 roster returns to the team in 2022.
That player is Mason Rudolph, the Steelers 2018 3rd Round selection. He has since been joined by free agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky, who is looking for a second chance in the NFL after struggling under high expectations and poor coaching in Chicago. Then just last week, the Steelers were the only team to select a QB in the first two rounds when they grabbed former Pitt star Kenny Pickett at pick 20 overall. They double-dipped at the position with their final pick in Round 7 by selecting Chris Oladokun, an athletic prospect out of South Dakota St.
The way this room shakes out in the lead up to the start of the regular season will be a huge part of the team’s level of success. How each player fits on the final roster is the big question, and one I will attempt to sort out in this piece.
Starting with the longest tenured Steeler at QB, Mason Rudolph has had a terrible offseason, and not because of anything he’s done specifically. It’s all about the additions here, which show a real, although not shocking, lack of faith in Rudolph as the future of the position in Pittsburgh. I believe he’ll have a chance to compete for a place on the final roster, but he has a steep uphill climb to the starting gig. He could be a candidate to be traded, however, I don’t believe that is likely at this point due to a low amount of interest from other teams and the fact that General Manager Kevin Colbert has repeatedly said he wants to take four QBs into training camp.
At the time, the signing of Free Agent Mitch Trubisky made perfect sense as the leader in the clubhouse to be the bridge QB between Roethlisberger and a draft pick to be added later. Trubisky has obvious upside as a guy with high draft pedigree who underwhelmed in a bad situation with his first team, but has flashed good mobility and playmaking potential. Up until Thursday, April 28, the career resurrection was on for Trubisky, and then, everything changed.
Enter Kenny Pickett, the dynamic and confident young gunslinger from local University of Pittsburgh. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have both raved about Pickett’s pro-readiness and are planning to give him every opportunity to beat out Trubisky and Rudolph for the starting gig. Many Steelers fans, including myself, believed Pittsburgh’s strategy would be to ride with Mitch in 2022 while a young rookie developed in the stable environment that is the Steelers organization. After the selection of Pickett, the more likely situation is that the Steelers have always pegged the former Panther as “their guy” for 2022, and the signing of Trubisky was essentially a buffer against either missing out on Pickett entirely, or him turning out to be not quite as ready as expected. In either scenario, the Steelers brilliantly secured a Plan B which will allow them to remain competitive in 2022 no matter what.
The final piece to the Pittsburgh Steelers QB puzzle is 7th rounder Chris Oladokun, giving the team it’s fourth QB just as Colbert and company suggested they would do back in March. Oladokun is the wild-card swing with athletic upside and should be, at the very least, a candidate for the team’s practice squad. I had the privilege of sitting down with the South Dakota St. product with my co-host on the Steelers Draft Fix, Andrew Wilbar, just to talk about his draft experience and what he brings to the table as a QB. You can find that conversation in the player below. Chris has a fantastic energy and could make things interesting in training camp with his athleticism and game smarts.
Depth Chart Prediction
Although there is still much to sort out, the sentiment Pickett will be the Day 1 starter for the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers is increasing by the day. However, don’t rule out what Trubisky can do in this competition as a veteran ready to prove his worthiness in the big leagues. Unfortunately for Rudolph, he is likely on the outside looking in for the starting job, but the Steelers like him and will give him a chance to compete. Finally, Oladokun gets a chance to show his skills in Training Camp and gives the Steelers their developmental prospect to, well, develop.
I am absolutely rooting for all these guys and can’t wait to see if one of them can become the next Steeler great at QB. And with all that being said, here is my final depth chart prediction:
QB1: Kenny Pickett
QB2: Mitch Trubisky
QB3: Mason Rudolph
Practice Squad: Chris Oladokun
How do you think the Steelers Quarterback room will shake out? Answer in the poll below and don’t forget to leave your comments as well. Also remember to check out the latest edition of the Steelers Draft fix where Andrew Wilbar and I grade the Steelers selections and even give our ideal Steelers Drafts based on how the actual draft board fell.
Which Quarterback will be the Steelers Week 1 Starter?
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