Devlin Hodges: The extremely rare path to becoming the Steelers starting quarterback
Steelers undrafted rookie quarterback, Devlin Hodges, is expected to start this week for Pittsburgh. Here’s why his journey is so remarkable.
If I would have told you back in August that Devlin Hodges would not only be suiting up for the Steelers this season but would be their starting quarterback, you would have declared me clinically insane. However, that’s precisely what is about to happen for the undrafted rookie out of Samford.
Multiple reports, including this one from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, indicate that Hodges will make his first NFL start this week against the Los Angeles Chargers:
Just a month ago, Devlin Hodges was considered a quality camp arm and was 4th in line in the Steelers pecking order at quarterback. However, a series of unfortunate events for Pittsburgh puts them in a scenario the NFL hasn’t seen in this generation.
Ben Roethlisberger was the clear and obvious starter heading into the season. But after just a game and a half of action, the former Super Bowl-winning quarterback was placed on injured reserve with a season-ending elbow injury that required surgery.
Just before this happened, Pittsburgh thought they had a surplus at quarterback. They traded third-year signal-caller, Josh Dobbs, to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 5th round draft choice.
After Ben’s injury was discovered, Mason Rudolph was forced into action. Rudolph threw for 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions during the 4 games he appeared in this season. However, he took a nasty hit this past week against the Ravens that left him motionless on the field.
No team in the league has dealt with misfortune at the quarterback position quite like Pittsburgh this year. However, the stars have aligned for perhaps the most unlikely scenario in all of football: The Steelers practice squad promoted quarterback from just a few weeks ago, is going to be starting this week.
Devlin Hodges looked surprising poise as he stepped into the game in the second half against Baltimore last week. In limited action, he finished the game completing 7 of 9 passes for 68 yards and boasted a 98.1 quarterback rating. He likely would have lead Pittsburgh to an overtime win had it not been for a costly fumble by JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Players have shown that undrafted quarterbacks can make it in this league. Just this year, football nation has been stunned by the emergence of Jaguars quarterback, Gardner Minshew. Like Hodges, Minshew is an undersized, undrafted quarterback who didn’t exactly come from the most significant college football program.
The Steelers haven’t started the season 1-4 for as long as I can remember. Devlin Hodges has a nearly impossible task on his hand to try to bring this team back into the thick of things. We will see what he is made of this week against the Chargers.