The Pittsburgh Steelers cannot — and should not — rely on Mason Rudolph any longer. He is not the quarterback of the future.
The Steelers stared their future in the face on Sunday afternoon against the winless Detroit Lions, and it was not pretty. Pittsburgh must eventually get used to life without Ben Roethlisberger.
Rudolph wasn’t the only reason the Steelers nearly lost to the Lions, he was merely a subplot. Pittsburgh was forced to rely on their defense and running game. Despite a solid performance from Najee Harris, the Steelers were sloppy defensively and Rudolph couldn’t generate much of anything in the passing game.
Can Steelers replace Mason Rudolph?
At the very least, the Steelers owe Dwayne Haskins a serious, in-game look. Rudolph was abysmal, and if Roethlisberger is forced to miss more time due to COVID-19 or another ailment, the Oklahoma State product should be no more than an emergency option.
Rudolph’s final stat line isn’t as scary as this article might suggest — he completed 60 percent of his passes for 242 yards, a touchdown and an interception — but that’s against one of the worst defenses in the NFL, at home. The weather didn’t help matters, but the Steelers need to start preparing for the future.
Ben Roethlisberger replacements: It’s not Mason Rudolph
And it’s likely not Haskins long-term, either. But this ought to be Rudolph’s final tryout.
The Steelers, should they make the playoffs yet again, will not receive a high draft pick. This means they’ll have to rely heavily on scouting to select a quarterback towards the end of the first round.
Reminder: This is a team which had a first-round grade on Rudolph.
Question I often have when watching Mason Rudolph: How in the world did the Steelers have a first-round grade on him?
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) November 14, 2021
In the meantime, the Steelers could sign another backup-caliber quarterback to replace Rudolph, but that seems unlikely. He’s stuck on this roster until the end of the season.
The draft is five months or so away, and the Steelers have already started scouting for good reason. Malik Willis, Sam Howell and Kenny Pickett are among the top quarterbacks in this year’s class. While it’s not a particularly strong crop on the surface, Steelers fans better hope they have someone in mind.