5 quarterbacks who could succeed Ben Roethlisberger for Steelers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12). Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12). Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7). Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Dwayne Haskins

Another bargain, albeit far less proven, is former Ohio State star Dwayne Haskins. The 15th overall selection in the NFL Draft two Aprils ago, Haskins has worn his welcome in the nation’s capital.

Seemingly, the marriage between Haskins and Washington was splintered from the very start. While owner Dan Snyder favored the young passer, Jay Gruden, at the time Washington’s head coach, did not prefer Haskins, and with his seat growing warmer, was unwilling to mold him.

Haskins’ lack of situational awareness has been expressed as a concern. In his first career victory, while another passer kneeled out the clock, coaches were puzzled. Haskins, who had led two late scoring drives, wasn’t on the field. Rather, he stood obliviously in front of the first row of the audience, snapping a celebratory selfie with a supporter.

While not rejoicing with onlookers, Haskins completed 58.6% of his throws in 2019, piling up 1,365 yards and seven touchdowns. In his nine appearances, he also threw seven picks. Haskins began the 2020 season as Washington’s starter, but the gig didn’t last all that long.

In what might well be his last start in burgundy and gold, against Baltimore in October, Haskins attained career highs in pass attempts (32) and yardage (314.) In the days following the game against the Ravens, first-year head coach Ron Rivera and his staff bailed on Haskins, demoting him to a third-string position a mere four weeks into this year’s campaign.

The quarterbacks that Washington has trotted out in Haskins’ stead is a statement in itself. Rivera has started Kyle Allen, who had gone a pedestrian 6-7 as a starter in his two years in Carolina, and veteran Alex Smith, returning from a life-threatening injury he’d suffered nearly two years earlier.

Haskins is a rare case. Since 2000, only two other quarterbacks taken in the first round—Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel and Denver’s Paxton Lynch—were not granted at least 11 starts with the team that chose them.

Yet, less than two seasons into his pro career, it’s fair to say that another team could be willing to give the 23-year-old Haskins another shot.

As a Buckeye, Haskins started only one full season. But, what an impressive season it was. In 2018, he set 28 OSU records and seven Big Ten league records. His 4,831 passing yards and 50 touchdown throws are the most in a single season in the conference’s history.

Haskins ended the season as a Heisman finalist and third-team Associated Press All-American. Ohio State’s athletics website refers to Haskins as “very probably, the greatest throwing quarterback in Ohio State history.”

While Washington remains alive in the NFC East, Haskins will wait on the bench, waiting for another opportunity. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers could likely provide that chance for as little as a mid-round draft pick.