Before the offseason began, it seemed like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ spring and summer would be at the forefront of the most amusing stories in the NFL.

How fast would Kenny Pickett’s rise to the starting job be? Could Mitchell Trubisky – once the quarterback of a playoff team – prove doubters wrong? And would Mason Rudolph emerge as a surprise competitor for the starting role?

However, that’s not quite how things have gone for the Steelers. In fact, as we reflect before Week 1 of the preseason, it’s fair to say many fans and many in the media (including the person typing these words right now) got it wrong.

Perhaps it was the optimism that usually surrounds a first-round rookie quarterback that blinded us to the true storyline of the offseason and most recently, of training camp. You see, it was never about the QB1 role.

Mitchell Trubisky has been number one on the depth chart since OTAs. He’s pretty much gotten every single first-team rep this offseason and has rarely been rivaled by Rudolph or Pickett.

And it’s not because he’s having an amazing, inspiring training camp. Don’t get me wrong. But even if Mike Tomlin has claimed that the starting job isn’t hinging on every single throw, the fact is that in a way it has been, as every single first-team throw has been made by the same guy.


Recently, Pro Football Focus polled NFL coaches, executives, and scouts to get their predictions on each quarterback battle around the league. The results perfectly reflect the quarterback situation in Pittsburgh as NFL sources picked the former Chicago Bear as the almost-unanimous choice.

“Only one person took Rudolph as the 2022 starter, with the rest of our sources predicting Trubisky would win the job,” writes Doug Kyed in the article.

That leads us to the storyline we should’ve been following all along. Will rookie Kenny Pickett be able to earn at least the backup quarterback role? As of right now, it sounds like Mason Rudolph is #2 for the Steelers.

Although calling Pickett a “bust” this early would be jumping the gun terribly, it is only fair to say that it’s somewhat disappointing to hear he might not even get a lot of preseason play.

We all were aware that the Steelers’ first-round pick would take some time to develop. Although highly talented, Pickett’s consistency, progressions, and patience in the pocket projected the prospect out of Pitt as a guy that would take time.

But that Rudolph – a player that has little to no long-term prospects in Pittsburgh – is seemingly pulling ahead of Pickett is not what Steelers Nation wanted to hear.

And let me be clear, it’s not that Rudolph doesn’t have what it takes to be a legit backup QB in the NFL. A good deal of teams would love to have him, it’s just that you would wish Pickett’s play paired with his long-term outlook would earn him more second-team reps.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports