When it’s time to replace Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers may not have to look far for his replacement. His replacement may already be on the roster.
Mark Kaboly of TheAthletic.com writes that Dwayne Haskins has been “surprisingly good” in practice. Kaboly adds that Haskins has been the team’s “best play-action passer,” and that his accuracy and decision-making have been good.
Haskins, the fifteenth overall pick in the 2019 draft, washed out of Washington during his second season. But he wasn’t a reach in the middle of round one. If not Washington, someone else would have taken him on the first night of the draft.
So the Steelers got him at a bargain-basement rate, and they may end up grooming him into a competent option to Roethlisberger.
In two nights, Haskins will replace Mason Rudolph in the Hall of Fame game. It will be the former Buckeye’s chance to try to wrest the No. 2 job from Rudolph, a career backup who seemingly has plateaued.
“He’s grown by leaps and bounds,” coach Mike Tomlin said regarding Haskins. “He does a good job of communicating with coaches, with players, gaining an understanding of what we’re trying to do schematically and his role in it, gaining a rapport with the receivers specifically, trying to do the things that we want him to do in the drill work that we do. We’ve made an emphasis that drill work is football-like, but not necessarily football, and so we have certain things that we emphasize under those circumstances. I think he’s done a nice job of that. I think a lot of guys have.”
Haskins had only one season as a starter in college before landing with the inherently dysfunctional Washington Football Team. His skills mirrored in many respects those of Roethlisberger. While not a threat to tuck the ball and run, Haskins has the mobility and the agility to extend the play behind the line of scrimmage.
So maybe the Steelers have found their next starter on the scrap heap. And maybe that will partially atone for the time when they had Johnny Unitas under contract, and decided he wasn’t good enough.