Kevin Colbert, the Pittsburgh Steelers general manager, said that the team would not rule out drafting any position in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After saying that many fans began thinking about whether or not the Steelers would take a quarterback in the first round of the draft. That comment has been taken way out of proportion and has been overblown by many people this week.
Ben Roethlisberger was on pace to have the best season of his NFL career before he was injured against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 10. However, after the Steelers finished 8-8 and the team struggled down the stretch many fans are ready to call out Todd Haley and Roethlisberger. Others are questioning whether or not the Steelers need a new quarterback because of Roethlisberger’s quote “performance falling off the last two seasons” as one blogger said.
Many think that the relationship between Haley and Roethlisberger needs to end even if that means getting rid of Roethlisberger. However, the only issues between Roethlisberger and Haley were from writers saying that the two wouldn’t work together. Roethlisberger did question Haley late in the season, but many quarterbacks have fought with offensive coordinators in the past. A little bit of reluctance was expected this season anyway with Roethlisberger’s relationship with Bruce Arians being broken up and with the short passing game (that Haley implements) not fitting Roethlisberger’s typical offensive style.
Fans also need to realize that this was the Steelers first year running Haley’s offense. This was the first time the Steelers offensive terminology and playbook had been completely revamped since Roethlisberger joined the team. As they enter their second season in this new offense things will only improve for the offense. Not to mention that through the first nine games the Steelers sat at 6-3 and two of their losses could be solely put on the shoulders of the defense. Had Roethlisberger not been injured the Steelers may have won the division and the AFC North division winners are currently in the Super Bowl.
That’s just the way things go in the NFL sometimes though. The ball doesn’t bounce your way or your quarterback falls awkwardly onto his elbow and all of a sudden a team that was looking at a possible division championship falls apart and doesn’t make the playoffs. That scenario then causes mass panic and fans start questioning whether or not it’s time to find the next franchise quarterback even when the current one still has plenty of years left in his arm.
If you want to know what Colbert was saying with his comments let me translate his GM talk: This team finished 8-8 and now it’s time to start looking for replacements where they are needed. Players that are getting older or are less effective may need to be replaced and therefore all positions will be evaluated. However, the starting quarterback position will only be evaluated for a short amount of time. The reason for that is because even those people who want him gone will have to deal with Roethlisberger starting at quarterback for multiple years to come.
Using a first round pick on a quarterback this season would not only be a waste of a pick, but it would cause the Steelers to fail to fill a need. That quarterback they would draft would not only not start for 4-5 years, but he would also get a decent contract as a first round pick. Why waste the money when a perfectly good back-up could be found in free agency. There is also the fact that this draft class is pretty weak at the quarterback position.
Now don’t get me wrong a quarterback would be a fine selection in the fifth, sixth, or seventh round. The Steelers could use a young quarterback that they could develop into a starter of the future. They could even go the route of grooming a new quarterback and then trading Roethlisberger in a couple of years to a team in desperate need of a quarterback.
So anyone who thinks the Steelers should, or will, draft a quarterback in the first round should rethink the team’s needs. A middle linebacker, an outside linebacker, a running back, a wide receiver, even another offensive lineman would all be more worthy of a first round pick than a quarterback.
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