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Steelers Draft Picks in the 21st Century: Quarterback

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Ben Roethlisberger drops back versus the Cincinnati Bengals. -- ED THOMPSON

Yeah, this is going to be a short one.

The Steelers have spent a lot of draft capital on the offense during Colbert’s tenure, but the quarterback position has been pretty much wrapped up since the team spent their first round pick on a quarterback from Miami of Ohio in 2004.

Steelers draft picks in the 21st century series: Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Line

In recent years the Steelers have spent a few mid-round picks on backups (and possible heirs) as Ben Roethlisberger nears retirement, but it hasn’t yet entered 2005 Green Bay Packers Aaron Rogers/Brett Favre Packers territory.

From 2000-2003 the Steelers rotated between Kordell Stewart, Kent Graham and XFL MVP Tommy Maddox with varying degrees of success. Who knows what would have happened if the Steelers hadn’t been upset by the spygate enhanced New England Patriots in 2001, but that failure would lead to Stewart being cast off and the fateful 6-10 2003 season which allowed the team to get the 11th overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft.

2000: 5th round, Tee Martin, Tennessee
2001: None
2002: None
2003: None
2004: 1st round, Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (Ohio)

The 2004 draft was loaded with quarterbacks: Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger. The only question was would one fall to the Steelers? One did and the rest is history. Roethlisberger is a future Hall of Famer, has won two Super Bowls and will be entering his 17th season with the team in 2019. His 144 career wins is seventh all-time and his 13 playoff victories is 6th.

Despite leading the league in interceptions his last full season in 2018, Roethlisberger’s 2.4 interception percentage that season was actually tied for the 5th best of his career and he also had career highs in completions, attempts and yardage. Not the sign of a quarterback nearing the end of his career. If his elbow has fully recovered, he should be in line for another big year, even at age 38.

2005: None
2006: None
2007: None
2008: 5th round, Dennis Dixon, Oregon
2009: None
2010: None
2011: None
2012: None
2013: 4th round, Landry Jones, Oklahoma
2014: None
2015: None
2016: None

2017: 4th round, Josh Dobbs, Tennessee
2018: 3rd round, Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

This is where things started to get interesting. Were the Steelers taking flyers on potential replacements, or just in need of a backup? With second day quarterback selections in back-to-back seasons, the team spent more draft capital than Roethlisberger would have preferred. Rudolph had his ups and downs in 2019 as the starter after Roethlisberger’s injury and whether or not he can take on the mantle when Ben retires is up for debate.

2019: None

2000-2020 draft quarterback breakdown

Total selections: 6
Years selecting an QB: 6/20

Selections by round:

1st round: 1
2nd round: 0
3rd round: 1
4th round: 2
5th round: 2
6th round: 0
7th round: 0

Selections by conference:

SEC: 2
ACC: 0
Big 12: 2
Big 10: 0
PAC 12: 1

Power 5: 5
Group of 5: 1

Notes:

There’s not much to say, the Steelers have had a franchise quarterback since 2003. He’s helped them win two Super Bowls in three trips and will one day enter the Hall of Fame.

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