In a perfect NFL world, every team would have a franchise quarterback, and replacing said quarterback wouldn’t be difficult.
Clearly, this isn’t a perfect world.
In fact, many teams still struggle to even find a capable quarterback, let alone one who could possibly be labeled a ‘franchise quarterback’.
For those who have been fortunate enough to find those high caliber quarterbacks, only a few franchises have had a plan in place to supplant the entrenched starter at the end of their career. You think about the San Francisco 49ers when Joe Montana eventually gave way to Steve Young. Also with the Green Bay Packers when Brett Favre paved the way for Aaron Rodgers. Some might even say the New England Patriots had a plan like this for Tom Brady before trading Jimmy Garropolo to the 49ers.
There aren’t many examples of teams who have successfully completed this succession plan, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to do just that for life after Ben Roethlisberger. General Manager Kevin Colbert appeared on PFT Live, and talked about just that.
“You want to give Ben the best opportunity to win a Super Bowl while he still can,” Colbert said. “You also want to recognize that great franchises that go from generation to generation and still are successful, they usually pass it on because of great quarterbacks. San Francisco from Montana to Steve Young, Green Bay from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. You’d like to be able to do that.”
While some fans may draw the conclusion the team is looking for Roethlisberger’s successor in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, it doesn’t necessarily mean that. It also doesn’t mean the team isn’t going to be targeting a quarterback at some point during this year’s selection process, but keep in mind Colbert realizes the player won’t have to be a high profile player to be the next “guy”.
“At some point you may draft a quarterback higher but as long as you’ve got Ben Roethlisberger playing for you, you’re hopefully not going to be able to get a guy that high,” he said.
The team has openly talked about the next quarterback for years now, and even with Roethlisberger talking about playing another 2-3 years, what Colbert said makes a lot of sense. Barring a catastrophe, or a ridiculous draft day trade, the Steelers won’t be picking in the Top 5 anytime soon. So, you will have to develop a quarterback, and what better time to do that than behind Roethlisberger until he hangs it up.
Will that player be selected this year in the 2018 NFL Draft? Only time will tell...