Speaking at the NFL Combine on Wednesday, Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert said that the team may select a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. It was widely expected that the team would do the opposite while picking up a free agent/undrafted rookie quarterback for the upcoming training camp.
“The draft is an intriguing group for college quarterbacks,” Colbert said. “You have to sort through that group and really make sure that we can predict their ability to succeed in the NFL because a majority of them are coming from a spread concept. That lends challenges to us to be able to identify NFL traits within those concepts so that we can maybe make good decisions if we may decide to pick a quarterback.”
Colbert added that the team won’t pass on a talented player in the draft even if they’re already stacked at their position.
“Depth at any position is important,” he said. “Again, it doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t take a player just because we have great players, because you can never have enough good players at any position.”
Earlier this month, Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola all but assured Steeler Nation that no changes will be made at the quarterback position this offseason, as the Steelers will enter the year with Big Ben, Jones and Dobbs as the team’s quarterbacks for the second consecutive year.
“With Roethlisberger on board for a couple of more seasons, with Jones under contract for another season, and with Joshua Dobbs continuing to work on the fundamentals of the position,” LaBriola wrote, “it doesn’t seem as though the Steelers will need to be looking for anything at this position during the upcoming offseason with the exception of a fourth arm for training camp and the preseason.”
Steelers’ President Art Rooney II said this month that Big Ben has expressed interest in playing three-four more seasons, as the team may look to offer Roethlisberger an extension this offseason. Roethlisberger is currently signed through the 2019 season. Unlike a season ago, Big Ben said immediately following the AFC divisional loss to Jacksonville that he will be back for the upcoming season. Roethlisberger enjoyed another banner year in 2017, throwing for 4,251 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 15 regular season games.
Jones, who signed a two year contract extension last offseason, completed 23 of 28 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his only game in 2017, a 28-24 victory over the Browns in Week 17. For his career, Jones has a 3-2 record as a starter while completing 63.9 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns against seven interceptions.
Pittsburgh’s fourth round pick last spring, Dobbs spent his rookie season learning the nuances of the position from quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. While he didn’t play in the regular season, Dobbs did show signs of growth during the preseason while leading the Steelers to a 3-1 preseason record. Dobbs completed 59.4 percent of his passes this preseason while throwing two touchdowns against three interceptions. He also rushed for the game-winning score against Carolina in Pittsburgh’s final preseason game.
Big Ben enjoyed one of the finest seasons of his career in 2017, throwing for 4,251 yards with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while earning his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. Roethlisberger, who missed five games due to injuries the previous two seasons, did not miss a start due to injury in 2017 while being sacked just 21 times in 15 games.
Shortly after drafting Dobbs, Pittsburgh picked up undrafted rookie Bart Houston, the former Wisconsin quarterback who completed just 43.8 percent of his passes during the preseason. Dustin Vaughan held that position during the 2016 preseason, completing just 54.2 percent of his passes before he was released before the start of the regular season.