Two years ago, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger balked at the team’s decision to use a third-round pick on a quarterback. As the 2020 draft approaches, Roethlisberger’s outlook on the possibility of the Steelers drafting another quarterback is more along the lines of “serenity now.”
“They have to do what they have to do,” Roethlisberger told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday. “We’ve got some quarterbacks on the roster but if they feel like there’s a better one out there then they got to go get him. And that’s their prerogative. That’s why they’re the owners, the GMs and the coaches and we just play. It’s not going to change my mindset, my mentality, my motivation. I’m trying to come off an injury, so I’m going to give it everything I have. If they go draft a quarterback with our first pick in the second [round] it’s not like it’s going to make me go out there and try to be any better because I’m already trying to do that anyway, you know?”
Maybe it’s added maturity, maybe it’s the season that was lost to an elbow injury. Making it’s Roethlisberger realizing that his own personal train is pulling into the station, making any new quarterback far less of a threat to supplant him before he’s ready to go. Regardless, any draft pick used on a quarterback is one less draft pick that could be used to improve the team elsewhere.
“I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that, maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team now,” Roethlisberger said in 2018 after the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph. “And nothing against Mason. I think he’s a great football player. I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid. I just don’t know how backing up or being the third guy, well, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart, helps us win now.”
The Steelers could use a better backup quarterback, given the performances of Rudolph and Devlin Hodges last year after Roethlisberger’s season ended in Week Two. But the draft likely isn’t the answer; the better approach would be to sign an available veteran, like maybe Jameis Winston once he realizes that there will be no starting jobs available to him in 2020.