Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Malone were both named by Bill Bender of the Sporting News as the best quarterback drafted at their slot in the NFL Draft.
Roethlisberger was taken with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft while Malone was taken with the 28th overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft.
Interestingly, five spots in the first round have never had a quarterback selected there. Those picks include the Steelers 2022 No. 20 overall pick, as well as the No. 21, No. 29, No. 30 and No. 31 overall picks. There has only been at least 28 teams since 1995 when the league added Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. The relaunched Cleveland Browns (1999) and Houston Texans (2002) later joined to become the 31st and 32nd teams in the NFL.
The Steelers will likely have three quarterbacks atop of Bender’s list for next season if reports about them drafting a quarterback come to fruition. While the No. 20 quarterback will top that spot by default, it could still be a Pittsburgh Steeler. Whether that be Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder or Ole Miss’s Matt Corral, if the Steelers select them at No. 20 then they would be considered the best quarterback ever taken with the No. 20 overall pick. They haven’t been shy about drafting a quarterback, so this is more than a likely scenario.
As for the current list, Roethlisberger was the fourth of six quarterbacks to be selected with the No. 11 overall pick in the Super Bowl era. Prior to Roethlisberger, Greg Landry (Detroit Lions – 1968), Jerry Tagge (Green Bay Packers – 1972) and Daunte Culpepper (Minnesota Vikings – 1999) were selected. After Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler (Denver Broncos – 2006) and Justin Fields (Chicago Bears – 2021) were selected.
Roethlisberger’s two Super Bowl victories and career stats of 64,088 passing yards with 418 touchdowns and just 211 interceptions make the future Hall of Famer a cut above the rest.
Malone is the only quarterback to be taken with the 28th pick in the first round. Malone played in nine seasons in the NFL, but only started 46 games with the Steelers. He was 23-30 in the NFL, with his last eight starts coming with the San Diego Chargers in 1988. In his career Malone threw for 10,175 passing yards with 60 touchdowns to 81 interceptions. He retired while with the New York Jets in 1989.