Kenny Pickett at Steelers training camp, MAosn Rudolph looks on during a Steelers game,Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at team OTA practice
Left: Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Center: Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images, Right: Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Battle to Replace Big Ben Heats Up

With Ben Roethlisberger retiring at the end of last season, following a Pittsburgh playoff loss, the Steelers went to the free agent market to acquire a new quarterback. It was unclear what the Steelers were looking to do, but the fact of the matter was that the Steelers needed a new quarterback to take over once Big Ben retired.

The quarterback they chose? Former No. 2 overall draft selection from the 2017 NFL Draft, Mitchell Trubisky.

Mitch Trubisky's Career Audible

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws the ball during the team's OTA practice

Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Trubisky began his career with the Chicago Bears, and while his performance ended up getting him run out of Chicago, teams weren't willing to give up on the former first-round pick.

In his four-year stint with the Bears, Trubisky had a 29-21 record, was 1016-for-1585 (64.1 percent completion), threw for 10,652 yards (ranking fifth all-time among Chicago Bears quarterbacks) and combined for 72 TDs and 37 INTs. Overall, the former UNC Tar Heel wasn't a bad quarterback. He wasn't great, but he wasn't bad. A team could win with him at the helm, and for a short time, the Chicago Bears were able to win with him.

However, that success didn't last forever, and eventually, he wasn't brought back by the Bears.

Going into the 2022 NFL Draft, there was buzz around whether the Steelers would roll with Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, or if they'd draft a quarterback. If the Steelers were to draft a quarterback, most eyes were on Pickett.

And that's exactly who they selected in the first round, No. 20 overall. Let the Steelers QB Battle begin.

Kenny Pickett Enters the Chat

Kenny Pickett and his fellow Pitt Panther teammates in a game against Clemson

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

RELATED: How Peyton Manning Helped Kenny Pickett Boost His NFL Draft Stock

In Pickett's time as the starter at Pitt, he was somewhat productive. That was, until his monster senior season.

In his final season for Pitt, Pickett threw for 4,319 yards, 42 TDs and seven INTs. On the ground, he added another 241 yards and five TDs.

So, even though his hands were more of a focus than his gameplay, the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up taking a chance on the 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback.

Now, with the season about a month away, the Steelers find themselves in a starting quarterback dilemma.

On one hand, they have a one-time Pro Bowler that's shown capabilities of winning in Trubisky. On a different hand, the Steelers have a controversial rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett. In the third and final hand, the Steelers have Rudolph, who was reported as having a 'great shot' at winning the starting job out of minicamp, per the Steelers' offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

To me, that sounds like coach talk for, "He's trying and could win it, technically, but we're not counting on it completely."

Mason Rudolph's Last Stand

Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during a game against the Detroit Lions

Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

In terms of measurables, Rudolph has an incredible quarterback build. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 235 pounds.

In his career thus far, he's accumulated 2,466 yards, 16 TDs and 11 INTs in 10 starts. It's certainly not a stat sheet to ogle at. However, most stats come from his rookie season. Out of his 10 starts, eight of them came from his rookie season, where he went 5-3 as a starter.

Now, I'm not at the Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, so it's hard to give an opinion on how Rudolph's doing this offseason, but with the acquisition of George Pickens, the quarterback's job gets a little easier.

So, as it stands now in the preseason, there really isn't a clear-cut starter ready for Week 1. The quarterback competition is tough, and Pittsburgh could go with either of the three quarterbacks and get a somewhat similar result, most likely. That said, if I had to guess what the Steelers are going to do, it's likely going to be Trubisky starting the 2022 NFL season. If the ship starts sinking too quick, it's possible Mike Tomlin brings in the rookie to see what he can do with an arsenal that includes wide receiver Diontae Johnson and running back Najee Harris.

Mason Rudolph starting the season would be a surprise to me, but that said, it's entirely possible. There's still plenty of time for the Steelers to make their choice for QB1, but the sooner they make the decision, the better.

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