The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t quite make it to an AFC Championship rematch with the Patriots, but now turn to the 2018 Draft to build another run at a Super Bowl next season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers lost in heartbreaking playoff fashion to the Jacksonville Jaguars, coming up short of a repeat appearance in the AFC Championship game. Now, the team must turn its attention to the 2018 NFL Draft for another shot at a title next season.
The contract negotiations of Le’Veon Bell will be an important storyline all season, and the team’s confidence in said negotiations could have a major impact on their overall draft strategy. In a class loaded at running back, might the Steelers look for Bell’s eventual successor?
The team could also surprise by taking a quarterback early, in preparations for the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era. While Ben has emphatically stated that he isn’t calling it quits any time soon, general manager Kevin Colbert could find a developmental quarterback to be a wise investment.
So, without further ado, here’s the path that the Pittsburgh Steelers could take in the 2018 NFL Draft.
QB, Oklahoma State
The Pittsburgh Steelers may be one of the more under-the-radar teams in need of a quarterback, but will be at the mercy of many of the more QB-needy teams picking ahead of them.
Ben Roethlisberger has made it clear that he intends to play for several more years, but at what point to the Steelers entertain the idea of grooming his eventual replacement? That’s why Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph could make a lot of sense for Pittsburgh at the end of the first round.
Rudolph is one of the most productive quarterbacks in the 2018 class, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 37 touchdowns to just nine interceptions in his senior campaign. Pittsburgh has spent quite a bit of time with him during the draft process, often with their top scouting brass at these meetings. While it could be a way to gauge Rudolph’s draft range and perhaps create a desire for other teams to trade in front of them, it’s very possible that Pittsburgh views Rudolph as Big Ben’s eventual replacement.
Rudolph has the size (6-foot-4 and 235 pounds) and arm strength to make all the throws at the next level. He never seems flustered in the pocket and although there are areas of his game that still need work, Rudolph is a solid developmental quarterback for the future.
If the Steelers opt to pass on Rudolph, or he’s off the board, expect to see Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates III or Stanford’s Justin Reid at this spot.