Entering the 2018 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in search of a long-term plan at quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger has been the franchise for his entire career. However, with Roethlisberger advancing in age, there is an increasing urgency to look for his successor. Landry Jones has been with the team for five years now and has proved serviceable but inconsistent. Josh Dobbs will be going into his second season with the team, with room to improve. So where does Pittsburgh go from here?
Mason Rudolph Is a Good Fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers
This year’s quarterback draft class is highly touted, to say the least. Big arms such as Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Sam Darnold all have scouts dazzled. Baker Mayfield has gained comparisons to both Johnny Manziel and Deshaun Watson. Lamar Jackson, believed to be a better prospect at receiver, is sticking to quarterback. All of these quarterbacks have gotten attention and there is bound to be one flying under the radar. Enter Mason Rudolph. The 6’5″, 235-pound quarterback from Oklahoma State could be this year’s sleeper. If he falls to Pittsburgh, they could take a chance on the potential star.
Where He Came From
The quarterback out of South Carolina was a finalist for the state’s “Mr. Football” award his senior year. As a freshman at Oklahoma State, Rudolph was expected to redshirt. However, that was negated when he entered a game due to an injury to the team’s starter. Rudolph would start the last two games of the year, going 2-0 and earning a victory over rival Oklahoma. In his sophomore year, Rudolph led the Cowboys to 10 straight wins to start the season. Rudolph spent the rest of his career becoming one of the most prolific passers in the Big 12.
Tale of the Tape
In Rudolph’s senior season, he led the FBS in passing yards per game. Rudolph also threw 37 touchdown passes, with just nine interceptions. Rudolph is a pocket passer by nature but did have six rushing touchdowns last year. His ability to move in the pocket and size both can be compared to Roethlisberger. While his arm is not the strongest, his accuracy makes him an intriguing prospect for Pittsburgh. Surrounded by one of the most talented offenses in the league, Rudolph could grow as a pro quarterback. Rudolph presents an interesting option for Pittsburgh.
All About the Draft
There have been rumors that Pittsburgh is looking to draft another quarterback this year. The top four will most likely go before Pittsburgh picks in the first round. Because of this, they will most likely have to explore other option when it comes to drafting a quarterback. They could go with Jackson. However, there are still questions as to whether he will even be a quarterback. With Rudolph, they could receive a first-round talent in the second round. That would allow them to use their first pick on a need, such as a cornerback or inside linebacker.
Rudolph’s (Potential) Role
Pittsburgh has a lot of questions to answer, both during the draft and after. With their draft position and the inflated price of free agent quarterbacks, Rudolph could be the perfect pick up. If Rudolph falls to Pittsburgh, he will be thrown into a heated quarterback battle. With Roethlisberger staying another year, he will have to battle with Jones and Dobbs for the position. That is if Pittsburgh even will carry four quarterbacks. Regardless, this will be a very interesting, and hopefully productive, draft for the Steelers.