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Ex-NFL Scout Doesn’t Believe in Steelers QB Changes



Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson

Former NFL scout John Middlekauff thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers’ additions of Russell Wilson and Justin Fields in the quarterback room won’t make much of a difference. He admits that they’re an upgrade over Kenny Pickett, and understands the move, but it won’t make them contenders for a Super Bowl.

“They’re basically taking a big swing here with the Russell Wilson and Justin Fields quarterback duo because, I would say (it) probably won’t work, but I completely understand why they did it, and I would have done it too if I were them,” Middlekauff said on his podcast. “So are they better? Because what they’ve been is like a nine, ten-ish win team. A team that’s immediately out in the playoffs. Not winning any playoff games. Haven’t won one since 2016.”

Along with Middlekauff, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are not thrilled about the Steelers moves over the last week.

The Steelers started the official NFL offseason at +7,500 to win Super Bowl LIX in New Orleans next February. Despite the flurry of activity, they’ve moved to just +5,000 to win the Super Bowl, according to DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday morning, leapfrogging only one team in the process.

Middlekauff appears not to be high on Steelers general manager Omar Khan, either, as he recently said on a podcast with Colin Cowherd that there’s some red flags in the Steelers front office.

“I do think this transition, and their new front office, I don’t think they’re quite viewed as the same powerhouse,” Middlekauff said. “… I think the Steelers, they got a lot going on when it comes to the transition in the front office. Which is natural. Most teams don’t go smooth from GM to GM or coach to coach. And I just think they’re an organization to kind of keep an eye on. I wonder how long can you keep this up?”

“A lot of people in the NFL, kind of have them red-flagged operationally, I would say. Not necessarily Tomlin, just the new GM (Omar Khan), just the new thoughts from the front office.”

Khan has conducted only one draft and it was widely considered one of the best in the league. Offensive tackle Broderick Jones, cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and nose tackle Keeanu Benton were all starters in their rookie seasons. Nick Herbig also showed promise as the No. 3 outside linebacker. The organization is also embracing analytics more under Khan compared to Colbert, who had an old-school scout background.

Khan also acquired Wilson and Fields on cheap contracts. Pittsburgh’s QB depth chart is under contract for under $4.5 million total. A lot of upside with little risk. Former general manager Kevin Colbert had some really bad draft picks late in his tenure, Kenny Pickett being one of them, and now Khan is cleaning things up and trying to set the Steelers up for postseason success.