The Steelers could move up to draft a quarterback in 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - AUGUST 31: Quarterback Trey Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison passes against the Butler Bulldogs during their game at Target Field on August 31, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - AUGUST 31: Quarterback Trey Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison passes against the Butler Bulldogs during their game at Target Field on August 31, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /
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Ben Roethlisberger is on his last legs and the Steelers could really use a future franchise quarterback. Here’s why they could make that happen in 2021.

Regardless of the continual praise and confidence Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have expressed in Mason Rudolph this offseason, the Steelers will be in the market for a quarterback in the 2021 draft. Apart from his size, Rudolph lacks some of the important physical tools to be a high-end franchise signal-caller in the NFL – the most notable being his severe lack of mobility.

Even if he ends up turning things around in year three, Pittsburgh shouldn’t have expectations that he will be anything more than potentially a high-end backup. But Rudolph’s struggles are hardly the only reason the Steelers will be in the market for a quarterback next April.

Ben Roethlisberger is 38 years old and coming off a major elbow injury that required surgery to fix a torn ligament. While it’s possible that Ben looks completely healthy to begin the season, he has played just a game-and-a-half of football since the 2018 sesaon, and it will take some time to shake the rust off.

But with time working against him, time is one thing he can ill-afford to waste. Roethlisberger has just two years remaining on his $91.2 million contract extension, and he is set to become the highest-paid player in the league in 2021.  Even if he plays out the rest of his deal before walking away from football at the age of 40, Pittsburgh would still like to get a quarterback in place who could sit behind Ben for a year.

Steelers will find their quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft

According to The Action Network, 23 teams are projected to have less wins this season, while the Steelers are tied with 4 other teams with a projected win total of over/under 9.5 this season. If we put the Steelers right in the middle here, that would give them the 26th pick in the draft next April.

This is obviously way to low to move up and land a talent like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields next season, as the pair of quarterbacks could be slated to go number one and number two overall next season. However, there are a few others Pittsburgh will have their eye on.

After the top two passers, North Dakota State quarterback, Trey Lance, and recent Georgia transfer, Jamie Newman, are projected to be first-round quarterbacks next sesaon. Depending on how they elevate their draft stock this season in college, the Steelers are likely looking at trade up for one of them.

This scenario certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility. In 2019, the Steelers moved into the top 10 to draft a linebacker, so making a similar move for a more important position is something that they could easily do.

Next. Steelers who are entering their final year with the team. dark

It still remains to be seen how the draft will play out next year, and what pick the Steelers will ultimately end up with. However, something tells me that this will be the year Pittsburgh finally drafts Roethlisberger’s successor, and moving up in the draft may be the only way to do that.