Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s response to the team’s decision to draft Mason Rudolph in the third round drew attention on Tuesday, particularly when Roethlisberger said he plans to play 3-5 more years after musing about retirement not so long ago.
The Rudolph pick wasn’t the only offensive move the Steelers made during the draft. They also made a change at wide receiver by trading Martavis Bryant to Oakland and drafting Rudolph’s Oklahoma State teammate James Washington in the second round.
“When I heard about Martavis, I was like ‘Oh, man.’ I really enjoyed playing with Martavis,” Roethlisberger said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think he was a great weapon, he helped our offense, did some great things by attracting attention and making plays for us. I was kind of caught off guard, but teams have reasons for doing things. I think part of it was him expressing trade things that we all heard so much about. I think he’s probably pretty happy. For him and his family, if you’re in a good happy place, then good for him.”
Between last year’s trade request and reports just before the draft of a possible trade, Roethlisberger may have been the only one caught off guard when the Steelers shipped Bryant to Oakland. Roethlisberger said he’s heard comparisons between Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who made a strong impact as a rookie in 2017.
If those comparisons continue, the Steelers offense should be in fine shape.