The Pittsburgh Steelers needed arms to fill out their quarterback room heading into the 2022 NFL Draft. After the tragic passing of Dwayne Haskins in April, the organization was left with just Mason Rudolph and free agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky on the roster.
It was during the draft the team added two quarterbacks. Everyone knows Kenny Pickett 20th overall, but the second quarterback taken was 7th Round selection Chris Oladokun out of South Dakota State.
Oladokun represents the fourth, and final, arm in the quarterback room, and most aren’t giving him much of a shot to make the roster this season; however, the young signal caller has a lot of collegiate experience under his belt, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the final 53-man roster.
“I think it’s important for me to embrace my role in whatever capacity that is,” Oladokun told the Steelers official website. “Whether I’m thrown into a role this year where I’m starting on Sunday, whether it’s a role where we’re playing the Ravens and I have to act like Lamar Jackson for that week, or the Bengals and I am acting like Joe Burrow in practice. If I’m the guy on the sideline that Mitch, Kenny, or Mason comes to you and ask me for a certain look, I’ve got to know my stuff and give them those answers. Whatever my role is I have to do it to the best of my ability.”
When you look at the four signal callers on the Steelers’ 90-man offseason roster, you have to ask yourself what Oladokun might bring which the other quarterbacks don’t bring to the roster. Ask Oladokun what he brings, and believes his athleticism is what separates him from the rest of the quarterbacks.
“I think I bring a lot of athleticism with my feet and how I can extend plays outside the pocket, the different arm angles and slots I can throw in,” said Oladokun. “The quarterback position has definitely changed, and I don’t think there’s a better time to come into the National Football League. I bring that athletic component.
“All the guys in the quarterback room are mobile. I don’t think we have any statues back there in the pocket. But with my mobility, we see a lot of good defensive ends and defensive tackles in the league nowadays. It’s a challenge getting away from those guys and extending the plays. It’s something that gives me a leg up because of how mobile I am and how I can create.”
Throughout the team’s Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamps, both rookie and veteran, Oladokun was a sponge as it pertains to gaining as much knowledge as possible before the start of training camp at Saint Vincent College on July 26th.
“I took every single day and was a sponge, talking to vets and coaches and will keep doing that,” said Oladokun. “It’s definitely a lot they threw at us right away, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m getting to know the coaching staff and they’re also getting to know me and how I pick up things and how quickly I can learn.
“I am always studying film, studying the playbook. I love knowing exactly what everyone’s doing. I want to make sure I know my responsibility, and the other 10 guys responsibility on the field as well. As a quarterback you are ultimately responsible for all those guys. I think that’s the most important part.
“Anything I can do to help the team at the end of the year hoist that trophy, that’s what I want to do.”
Oladokun knows one thing, and that is the fact quarterbacks will be highly scrutinized no matter what. It comes with the position and is just part of the territory of being the focal point of every play.
“Being a quarterback, you have to be tough. You’re going to hear a lot, the highs, and the lows. You’re going to get praised and people are going to beat you down when you don’t do your job to the best, or what they think is the best. I’ve been through a lot of adversity. I think I’m built for any situation that’s been thrown at me. I’m just ready to see where this journey takes me.”
Will Oladokun be able to carve out a spot for himself on the active roster? That has yet to be seen, but he certainly has an uphill climb ahead of him. The hope could be finding his way to the practice squad and learning for a year, but clearing waivers might be something the Steelers don’t want to wait and see. Camp will be where players like Oladokun can make a name for themselves.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the offseason.