I have said we need a QB to groom. Dixon is done. Good read here.
The Pittsburgh Steelers fell at the hands of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos and now it's time to look ahead at the 2012 NFL Draft. Just like last year the two main priorities are the offensive line and the pass defense. The question has to be asked though. Is it time to find a young, late-in-draft back up quarterback?
Let's face the facts. Ben Roethlisberger is still one of the five best quarterbacks in the league but he's getting older, the injuries are stacking up and he isn't getting much protection from his offensive line. Roethlisberger is as tough as they come but even he can't withstand the punishment forever. I'm not suggesting that Big Ben is in the twilight of his career and it's time to groom a new starting quarterback. I just believe they need a new young backup.
The current backup quarterbacks aren't getting it done. Byron Leftwich was injured for the entire year and is even older than Roethlisberger. Leftwich-if he's healthy-is a fine backup for the next year or so while a new quarterback goes from being the third string to the second string but hoping he's healthy is a big if.
I'm not sure why Charlie Batch is even on the team. Roethlisberger got injured and should have rested but ended up playing the rest of the season. Even though a win over the San Francisco 49ers was important to get ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in the standings, it wasn't worth risking Roethlisberger's health. Mike Tomlin isn't an idiot. He knows how important Ben is. To me playing Roethlisberger while he was injured sent a message loud and clear. "We don't believe we can win with Batch". If the Steelers thought Batch was an adequate backup then Roethlisberger would have been rested at some point. If not the 49ers game-because it was so important-than certainly one of the two games after that.
Of course I'm talking about a late round draft pick. Spend the first two picks on offensive linemen and pass defense help, then the third pick choose another offensive lineman/defensive back or other need and then look for a quarterback in the fourth to seventh round range.
One big college football name that projects is a mid-to-late draft pick is Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. Scouts don't think Moore has some of the necessary qualities to be a starting quarterback in the NFL but he's extremely smart and is a proven leader and winner. Tim Tebow has been the number one story in the NFL this year and if he's proven anything it's that these qualities can go a long way. Moore wouldn't be expected to win games like Tebow. Moore would be there just to provide the Steelers with a safety net.
Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon figures to be one of the top picks in the draft but the player that was throwing the ball to him won't go until late in the draft. Brandon Weeden could be worth a late round draft pick. Wheeden led one of the best offensive attacks in college football last season. The downside of Wheeden is that his career won't be long. He's already 29-years old because was a baseball prospect for a few years before returning to college to play football. On the other hand he could have the poise and maturity to be an adequate NFL quarterback earlier than the other quarterbacks chosen in the late rounds.
Another great offensive attack this year was led by Wisconsin's Russell Wilson. The big knock on Wilson seems to be his height. Wilson is listed as 5'11" and might not be that tall. Personally I've never been a big believer in forming an opinion on somehow largely due to their lack of size. Wilson was a great college quarterback and I think he can be formidable backup in the NFL. Let's also not forget that the quarterback that just broke the single season passing record was considered too small too.
Roethlisberger didn't come from a huge college football program and maybe the backup of the future isn't someone from a "BCS school" either. Dominique Davis of East Carolina played well for the Pirates when they played non-conference games against "bigger" schools North Carolina and South Carolina. Austin Davis had a fine season for Southern Miss and helped knock off Case Keenum and Houston's bid at an undefeated season. Speaking of Keenum, the record-breaker could be in the mix too but he'll have to do a lot to prove he wasn't successful just because of Houston's system.
So who do we get? Yes I know about Johnson. But who else do we bring in?