On January 16, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended with a blowout playoff loss to Kansas City.
The loss also signaled the likely end of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s career.
While the signal-caller hasn’t explicitly said he’s retiring, the writing has been on the wall for months.
When that moment finally arrives, the search for the next Steelers franchise quarterback will reach a fever pitch.
In the meantime, Mason Rudolph has been Roethlisberger’s backup for four years.
The feeling is that he will replace Big Ben, at least temporarily.
However, Dwayne Haskins has his own opinion.
— SteelTownUsa® (@SteelTownUsa) January 20, 2022
The former first-round pick of the Washington Football Team was signed by Pittsburgh before this season.
He did not receive any playing time in 2021, but Haskins believes he can pick up where Roethlisberger left off.
The QB’s History
After a 2017 college season that saw him throw 565 yards and four touchdowns in spot duty, Haskins exploded in 2018.
As the starter for Ohio State that year, he passed for 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns, and eight picks.
Despite only one season as a starter, a number of NFL teams salivated over Haskins’ potential.
Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins declares for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Potential 1st QB off the board pic.twitter.com/a1iT0H2FNJ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 7, 2019
Haskins then gave up his final two years of college eligibility and declared for the draft.
He was selected with the No. 15 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft by Washington.
It’s safe to say that, in hindsight, Washington wishes they had a do-over.
Haskins started seven games in his rookie year, then only six in 2020.
Before Week 5 of the 2020 season, he was benched by the team based on poor play and a lethargic work ethic.
Haskins continued to exhibit bad choices off the field, making questionable decisions related to league protocols on COVID protection and prevention.
Then, after another inferior performance against the Carolina Panthers later in the season, Haskins was released.
Washington has released QB Dwayne Haskins, the team announced. pic.twitter.com/ChZrNUvAsC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 28, 2020
In January of 2021, Haskins joined Pittsburgh.
During his first training camp with the Steelers, Haskins lost the backup job to Rudolph and watched the entire season from the sideline.
Although he flamed out badly in Washington and did not play this year, Haskins is convinced he just needs an opportunity.
“I definitely feel like I could be a starter in this league,” Haskins said recently. “I got drafted for that reason. I definitely believe I have talent to play with the best of them, but really, I just haven’t put it all together yet.”
For his part, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has promised an open competition between Rudolph and Haskins next year.
“They’re giving me a chance to compete,” Haskins said, “and I have a chance to start. That’s all I could ask for.”
What Are His Chances?
While it’s true that he has a solid skillset as a quarterback, he has yet to prove himself as a pro.
He burned bridges in Washington due to his off-field behavior and didn’t garner a lot of hype for his on-field play.
Tomlin likes Haskins enough to give him an opportunity, but it goes without saying that Pittsburgh will look to the draft or free agency for quarterback help.
Dwayne Haskins mentioned mobility as "the old Ben" type of mobility and that's something he has. pic.twitter.com/zelt9qak6r
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) January 19, 2022
Looking back, Haskins needed another year or two in college to prove himself.
The lack of further development at Ohio State translated to a rough two-year start as a pro.
It remains to be seen if he has finally learned the tricks of the trade as an NFL player.