When it comes to who should start at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022, Mark Madden of 105.9 The X and TribLIVE feels that the decision is obvious.
Who cares if Mason Rudolph has been with the team the longest? Who cares if Mitch Trubisky was signed to be the starter a mere six weeks ago?
The team drafted Pitt product Kenny Pickett in the first round. And the goal should be to make him the starting quarterback if at all possible.
“He turns 24 a little over a month from now. So they’ve got to start him,” Madden said in this week’s “Madden Monday” podcast. “You can’t get a guy who has started 49 collegiate games and is going to be 24 before camp starts and put him on a slow path. You can’t do it. If you do that, then drafting him makes zero sense. If you are looking at the long game, then you need to take Malik Willis (Liberty/QB). So you’ve got to start him.”
That said, Madden’s preference would’ve been Trent McDuffie, the cornerback from the Washington Huskies who was selected next at pick No. 21 by the Kansas City Chiefs.
“He is a guy at a key position who comes right in and starts,” Madden said. “I’m not outraged by the pick of choice, but it is not the pick I would’ve made.”
Madden thinks that the Steelers’ head coach may be struggling to adjust after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement.
“Mike Tomlin inherited Ben Roethlisberger”. He’s never had to replace a quarterback before. The way that he has gone about it confirms that — that he’s never done it. And, I think, (he) doesn’t know how to do it,” Madden explained.
The Steelers have been somewhat frenetic in their attempts to replace Roethlisberger. Since his decline that coincided with the rest of the team after an 11-0 start in 2020, the club has thrown as many people as possible at the position with no clear-cut commitment or method to the madness.
They signed Dwayne Haskins. They kept Roethlisberger around for one more year. They extended Mason Rudolph through 2022. They signed Trubisky. They drafted Pickett. And they even drafted South Dakota State’s Chris Oladokun.
Even considering Haskins’ sudden death in April, that’s a lot of movement for a quarterback room that still feels very much unsettled heading into 2022. And Madden said he feels badly for Trubisky.
“He’s been bamboozled,” Madden said. “He was coming here thinking he was going to re-start his career. Now he is going to be backup to a rookie. He’s getting paid pretty well ($14.2 million over two years). But he should still feel hoodwinked.”
Also in the podcast, Madden and I preview the Penguins playoff series against the New York Rangers, as well as some likely offseason moves. We forecast a potential Stanley Cup Final showdown. And we analyze the Jordan Addison situation at Pitt.
Listen: Tim Benz and Mark Madden talk Steelers’ draft, Penguins’ playoffs and more
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.
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