Even though quarterbacks are seemingly playing later into their careers than they ever have before, both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger know that they don’t have too much more time together.
Roethlisberger has been with the Steelers since the 2004 season, and has had an excellent career.
But at age 39, the end is fast approaching, and Pittsburgh will have no choice but to groom another signal-caller for the future.
In January of this year, the team signed former Washington 2019 first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins, in hopes of taking a flier on his potential.
Haskins did not have an impactful run as a starter with Washington, to say the least.
It’s not very common for organizations to move on from first-round talent a year after the pick, so there are a lot of red flags around the former Ohio State quarterback.
Let’s take a closer look at whether Haskins can turn his career around in the Steel City.
Blessed to be here. 💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/CdDj2YwmsX
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) June 1, 2021
Why He’ll Blossom In Pittsburgh
Although it took an unfortunate set of circumstances to him to get to his point, Haskins hopefully realizes now that it is a privilege, not a right, to be a NFL starting quarterback.
With this swift fall from grace, the organization will have their fingers crossed that he’ll take every practice, film session, and interaction much more seriously than he did in Washington.
Sometimes it does take young players a couple of years to mature and get used to the notion that football is now their job.
Haskins’ trajectory has garnered much more attention since he’s a quarterback, but he’s only 24 years old, and is not done writing his story by any means.
Additionally, he might have landed in the perfect spot.
Haskins does not have any grandiose expectations heading in 2021, as the Steelers will roll with Roethlisberger for another campaign.
He has the benefit of watching the legendary signal-caller week in and week out, to learn what it takes to be successful at this level.
Head coach Mike Tomlin is also one of the premier leaders in the game, and can handle combustible personalities to a point if they are producing on the field.
Tomlin was able to deal with Antonio Brown for nearly a decade, and is uniquely positioned to manage the locker room if one player isn’t quite fitting in perfectly.
— Darvin Kidsy Jr (@Dkidsy3) May 3, 2021
Why He Won’t Make It With The Steelers
While it is true that NFL teams rarely cut bait with first-round talents so quickly, it has happened a little bit more frequently in recent years.
The Arizona Cardinals, and eventually the Miami Dolphins, moved on from first-round quarterback Josh Rosen after he compiled a 3-13 record as a starter in two NFL seasons.
Haskins’ career record is pretty similar to Rosen’s, as he’s just 3-10 starting games in the NFL.
Rosen is having a difficult time making it back for another chance, and he doesn’t have the same type of character concerns that have been reported about Haskins.
Sometimes it can be unfair, but when the league turns the page on a player, it’s hard to come back from that.
The Steelers don’t exactly have a Steve Young-type waiting in the wings once Roethlisberger does decide to call it quits or change teams, but that might not be a glaring problem for Tomlin.
Mason Rudolph is not anyone’s idea of a viable long-term NFL starter, but Tomlin was still able to coax an 8-8 season out of the team with him starting most of the games in 2019.
Pittsburgh never sets out to finish .500 in the regular season, but it might have engendered a confidence throughout the organization that they don’t need an upper echelon quarterback to compete.
If that’s the case, Haskins’ upside, relative to his downside, might not make sense as a long-term investment.
Verdict: Haskins Has A Steep Uphill Climb, And Will Likely Not Make It In Pittsburgh
As it stands right now, Haskins isn’t even the backup to Roethlisberger; he’s the backup to Rudolph.
That means he’s unlikely to see the field in 2021 unless something drastic happens to the quarterback room with regards to injury.
In this day and age, NFL teams also don’t carry three quarterbacks on the active roster each and every week, which means the former Buckeye will be even further from relevancy.
There is a good chance that Haskins will take this chance more seriously and become the professional Pittsburgh needs him to be, but his road map to making a difference on Sundays has a lot of obstacles.