Pittsburgh Steelers: How long does Josh Dobbs realistically need to develop?

Sep 1, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) looks to pass against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 1, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) looks to pass against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted their future quarterback in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. There’s still a few years before he’s ready to take over this Super Bowl contending team, though.

Must Read: Greatest Steelers Draft Steals Since 2000

When Ben Roethlisberger began questioning retirement after the 2016 season, Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans went into a panic looking for the next quarterback for this franchise. As well as Landry Jones has played as a backup over the last few seasons, he’s by no means the next starting play-caller for Pittsburgh.

So, even after Big Ben announced his return for the 2017 season, the Steelers decided to draft a player they believe could be the successor of the future Hall of Famer. Former Tennessee star, Joshua Dobbs, someone fell into Pittsburgh’s lap with the 135th pick. With the selection, questions began to arise as to how long it will be before it’s safe to give Dobbs the starting job.

Now, Roethlisberger has stated that he isn’t committing to the team after the 2017 season. Of course, that means there’s still a 50/50 shot he’ll continue playing into 2018. At age 35, heading into his 14th NFL season, any year can be the last for the all-time great.

Leaving the question – “how long does Josh Dobbs need to develop?” For some, it’s only a season. He possesses all the physical attributes you want in a quarterback and is smart enough to learn the offense during his time behind Ben.

Must Read: 5 Steelers You Can Steal in Your Fantasy Draft

Other believe it’s a bit longer. In college, Dobbs was known to tuck and run as much as he threw. A mobile quarterback is always a plus in the NFL, but taking on defenders too often leads to nothing but injury for quarterbacks in this league.

He still needs to figure out his throwing motion and be able to set his feet before making a pass. Most times, he throws off his back foot causing an unbalanced release. This often leads to the ball floating, especially on deep outs.

Dobbs also needs to work on his decision making. He’s one of, if not the, smartest player in the draft class. As an aerospace engineering major, Dobbs’ intelligence is through the roof. You won’t find many people in this league with as much knowledge as Dobbs has.

On the field, though, he tends to struggle adjusting to different options. When his pre-snap decision isn’t there, Dobbs will sometimes force a bad throw or make another poor decision because he’s rattled. In the NFL, defensive backs will eat you alive when you try to force throws.

All the bad is fixable, though. Dobbs doesn’t have any downsides most rookie quarterbacks have. With a year or two behind Roethlisberger, most of these issues will be gone. For now, though, he’s still a big work in progress, meaning there needs to be time before he steps on the field.

If Ben decides to retire after the season, Mike Tomlin needs to give Dobbs the job. Whether he’s figured out all the problems or not, Dobbs is the future and having Jones start an entire year isn’t doing any good for this team.

This season, Jones is still the No. 2. Let him ride it out while Dobbs develops more. Then, next year, if Roethlisberger calls it quits, you hand Dobbs to reigns. He may not lead you to an AFC Championship, but he should be able to keep the team a playoff contender.

Two years would be prime. If Big Ben can push it out two more seasons, let Dobbs fully develop, then retire, Pittsburgh won’t miss a step. They’d go from a Hall of Fame quarterback to a young and talented one. At this point, Dobbs could be ready enough to keep the Steelers a contender right from the start.

No one has any idea how much longer Ben Roethlisberger has left. Whether it’s a year or five, Pittsburgh needs to prepare for his departure. With the talent this team has outside of quarterback, they can’t afford to miss a beat for a season. So, there needs to be timelines for Dobbs’ development.

Next: 5 Things to Watch During Rookie Minicamp

One season isn’t enough to get him Super Bowl ready, but it could be enough to keep Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Two years and this team changes nothing. They will continue to be just as strong with or without Ben. As sad as it will be to watch the future Hall of Fame quarterback go, after two more seasons, fans can be excited about the future.

Here’s to hoping Big Ben pulls off two more Super Bowls before handing the team to his successor.