Videos by OutKick
NFL teams with aging or exiting quarterbacks tend to produce fantasies of the backup QB potentially becoming the next Aaron Rodgers.
Whether it was Jimmy Garoppolo for a brief stint in New England, or backup-at-best Davis Webb shadowing Eli Manning in New York, the next guy up always presents the hope of becoming just as good, or better, compared to their predecessor.
In the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, replacing the retired Ben Roethlisberger is already proving to be a tough hill to climb, based on their current depth of bargain bin options; including four-year backup Mason Rudolph and former first-rounder Dwayne Haskins.
ESPN NFL analyst and former Steelers safety Ryan Clark commented on the state of Pittsburgh’s QB limbo; forecasting that the team would be doomed behind assumed starter Mason Rudolph.
“I don’t believe that Mason Rudolph is the quarterback,” Clark said, “So is there a free agent that you can get to compete?”
Clark’s not off the mark on Rudolph: whose frequent opportunities filling in for an injured Roethlisberger demonstrated little to no salt.
As relayed by Yardbarker, Rudolph is a 5-4-1 career starter. He boasts a completion percentage of 61.5 and has thrown for a combined 2,366 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Even if the Steelers do land their preferred guy at QB — which rumors suggest is Liberty’s Malik Willis — Clark believes that the team can still surprise audiences with their adept defense and direction under Mike Tomlin.
“The thing about the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last five years or so, they’ve been able to compete without true, elite quarterback play,” Clark admitted. “It was just competing though. There were never any of those teams that we really thought were championship caliber.”
Clark threw some college names out to tempt the Steelers fanbase. “Do we believe in Kenny Pickett? Do we believe it’s Malik Willis, Matt Corral?”
In 2019, evaluating the status of a San Francisco 49ers team led by Jimmy G., Clark made an intrepid comment about the team’s equal ceiling if they replaced Garoppolo with Mason Rudolph.
Either Rudolph’s potential sharply dropped since 2019, or the goldfish memory is catching up to Clark.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela