PITTSBURGH – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin already made it clear that first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett will have a shot at the starting quarterback position in 2022.

As it turns out, he also expects the upcoming quarterback battle to be a fierce one. Not just between Pickett and free agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky, however. He also expects Mason Rudolph to insert himself into the mix, as well.

“I expect it to be fierce, because I know all three guys. I don’t expect anyone to take a backseat,” Tomlin told Eisen. “The challenge, from a structure standpoint, is are we providing enough of a platform for all the guys to show what they’re capable of?

“So that’s going to be the challenge component of it. I’m excited about watching these guys compete, man, just like I am at any position where you got some viable options. So, we’ll proceed with that understanding that it’s going to be challenging from an organizational standpoint. But it’s a good challenge and I’m excited about watching those guys perform.”

Tomlin’s expectations are right in line with his mindset

If you play for Tomlin and the Steelers, you better bring your best every single day. Not only is he going to expect that from you, but he’s going to find someone who does/can bring their best if you’re not.

Without trying to put words in his mouth, that’s probably why he expects the upcoming quarterback battle to be a fierce one. Even when it comes to Rudolph. Yes, Mason is definitely against the odds of winning the job, however, he’s been with Tomlin and offensive coordinator Matt Canada since Canada has been with the Steelers since 2020.

Rudolph knows the system and the coaches know what he’s capable of. Can he show them that he is worthy of the No. 1 job and push Trubisky and Pickett? It’s always possible, even if it’s unlikely. But, Rudolph’s system familiarity does give him a head start on the other two.

Regardless of circumstances, Tomlin naturally expects Rudolph compete. And Rudolph knows this after playing for him the last three seasons.

Now, the competition will likely be very fierce when it comes to Pickett and Trubisky. And that has nothing to do with Tomlin’s mindset.

Pickett played in a pro-style offense under Mark Whipple at Pittsburgh, which means he’s ready for an NFL playbook. He’s also a good fit for Canada’s system and he has a similar play style (in regard to the physical side of things) to Trubisky’s. As mentioned earlier, both players are also entering the first year working out of Canada’s playbook. If Trubisky has a leg up, it’s only slightly due to the fact he was signed in mid-March and Pickett was drafted at the end of April.

Overall, it should be a very exciting and intriguing battle, no matter who’s involved.

You can check out Eisen’s full interview with Tomlin, here.

Featured image via Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports