4 traits Mason Rudolph is lacking to be a franchise QB for Steelers

Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Mason Rudolph played a solid game against the Browns to close out the season, but here’s why he can’t be the franchise QB Steelers fans are hoping for.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had very low expectations for the Steelers heading into their Week 17 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Though Pittsburgh had just clinched the division one week earlier in a comeback win against the Indianapolis Colts, the Browns had were fighting for a playoff spot this week.

After suffering through watching Mason Rudolph for 8 games and 10 starts last season with Ben Roethlisberger on IR, I was expecting to see something along the lines of what we’ve been accustomed to seeing after 2019, but that wasn’t the case at all. Though Rudolph managed a pathetic 5.7 adjusted yards per attempt on the season last year, he looked down the field early and often in his Week 17 start against Cleveland. As a result, he managed 315 yards and a whopping 8.1 yards per attempt – the latter being a number Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t seen in 20 games dating back to Week 14 of the 2018 season.

While Rudolph showed promise in a few areas, he still clearly lacks a few essential traits that will impede his ability to be a franchise quarterback when Big Ben hangs it up. Here are four crucial traits that Mason Rudolph just doesn’t have:

Pocket awareness

This was something that was glaringly evident in his lone start of the 2020 season and has been an issue his whole career. While Rudolph may be willing to stand in the pocket and deliver a pass under pressure, he doesn’t exactly have eyes in the back of his head.

As a result, Rudolph was sacked just once but forced a number of poor throws – one resulting in a second-half interception that may have cost Pittsburgh the game. For the most part, Rudolph was very well protected in Week 17, but when the pocket collapses, he lacks the awareness to feel it coming.