Steelers Draft History Under Tomlin – Quarterback

With the 2014 NFL Draft coming up in a bit, and having finished taking stock of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster, it’s now time to look back and see how the team assembled the roster they currently have through the draft.

It would be most simple to set a dividing line at 2007, the year Mike Tomlin took over at head coach, so we will revisit the past seven drafts, encompassing 59 selections, to see how the team treated each position, and look into why that is.

As usual, we start at the top with the quarterback position. Because the position has been of such little need over the past decade, however, we will include the 2006 draft as well.

The Steelers drafted Ben Roethlisberger in the first round of the 2004 draft and haven’t seen the need to draft another quarterback in the first three rounds since then. Now at 32 and with two rings, three Super Bowl appearances, and most of the franchise quarterback records in his back pocket, the Steelers have been lucky to have him for the past decade.

That’s why they’ve only drafted three quarterbacks since 2004. That and the fact that they prefer to utilize the services of veterans, such as Tommy Maddox, Charlie Batch, and Bruce Gradkowski, to fill the role of backup quarterback.

2006 – Omar Jacobs – 5th round (164)

Omar Jacobs, an accomplished collegiate quarterback who in 2005 was expected to compete for the Heisman Trophy as a junior before suffering a shoulder injury, skipped his senior season to declare for the draft.

The Steelers selected him in the fifth round in what in hindsight wasn’t a very good draft past the first round. He was released after training camp in his rookie year, spending time on a few practice squads before falling out of the league. He later found success in the American Indoor Football League, leading his team to a championship in 2008.

2008 – Dennis Dixon – 5th round (156)

Yet another accomplished collegiate quarterback expected to compete for a Heisman designation before injury took its course, the Steelers drafted Dennis Dixon two years after taking Jacobs in the fifth round. But unlike Jacobs, he managed to stick around for the duration of his rookie contract.

Dixon even started a few games, including a narrow overtime defeat in 2009. When Roethlisberger was suspended to start the 2010 season, Dixon won the right to start the first four games, but after an injury in the second game, he was placed on injured reserve. He’s spent the past few seasons kicking around practice squads.

2013 – Landry Jones – 4th round (115)

After saying goodbye to their backup quarterbacks, the Steelers signed Gradkowski and then drafted Landry Jones in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, the highest they’d selected a quarterback in a decade.

Jones spent his rookie season inactive as the third quarterback, but even Gradkowski saw no playing time. Jones had his moments during the preseason, but he also showed that he has a lot to work on with regards to technique. It’s unclear if he’s being counted upon to push Gradkowski for the backup role this summer, but either way it may be enough to keep the Steelers away from the position in this upcoming draft.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • bonairsfavoriteson

    ROUND ONE DRAFT REVIEW. Just show that Tomlin and the boys are big on wasting picks on quarterbacks.

  • Really 2006-Cowher shock! Tomlin Drafted Dennis Dixon & Landry Jones. Lets not even get into the QB Cowher wasted picks on, drafted Tee Martin over Tom Brady/argument

  • steeltown

    All Teams draft QBs every few yrs, every position needs to be addressed and be given an influx of youth. Look at all of the QBs New England has drafted since the Brady era, like 6QBs acouple were 3rd Rders

  • cencalsteeler

    Prediction: Pats draft Tom Savage?

  • RMSteeler

    Is there some reason that Landry Jones seems to be the least analyzed, talked about Steelers draftee from 2013. I mean besides all the “I can’t believe they wasted a 4th pick on him.” I don’t think I’ve even seen an interview from him, or an article on his progress, or even where he’s training. Much more coverage on the 7th Rd picks that were injured early. Am I missing something?

  • steeltown

    People dislike Landry… im not sure why… we had Dixon on roster for 3yrs and he was awful, yet he was given every chance to succeed by the Team and the fans. I think Landry deserves that at the very least.

  • steeltown

    No idea… but they are actively looking for the eventual Brady replacement, they’ve brought in a ton of QBs – Manziel, Bridgewater, Mettenberger, Garoppolo, Aaron Murray and spent time at pro days with McCarron, Logan Thomas, Keith Wenning and Connor Shaw

  • James Kling

    Omar Jacobs wasn’t a Tomlin pick and never played on a Tomlin team.

  • John21

    Last time I say a list like that it was the Call Backs for The Walking Dead

  • Scot Hickerson

    I think you have Charlie Batch to thank for that when he said Landry was the replacement for Ben because he would be much cheaper than Ben at 34, 35, and 36. I think the team doesn’t want there to be any focus off of the team and Ben. I am dumbfounded by how many fans says he sucks, when he had one of the best college careers of all time. He won 40 games and averaged 4000k yrds and 30 td’s a year over 4 years at a major BCS School. I personally think that Charlie was right and Landry is the reason they haven’t given Ben a new Contract and I think they view him as their Aaron Rodgers.

  • RMSteeler

    I think the hate come from picking a QB in 4th round, mostly. But, Landry had an early 2nd grade I thought. Just may have been too much value for Steelers to pass on no matter what. You are right about his college career. All kinds of NCAA all time records. Just don’t know why we never hear about him but know all about knee recovery of 7th rd picks. Was thinking the Aaron Rodgers thoughts too.

  • Scot Hickerson

    At the End of Jones’ Junior year Mel Kiper had him ranked at 15 of the top 50 prospects ahead of Weedon and Tannehill who both went in the first. Jones got mixed up in that “bad QB” in the draft. Its like the NFL Network guys like them all or hate them all and they all slid in the draft. I think Landry got Screwed. I am shocked at how many Steelers fans go on about how Landry sucks and he will never be a starter. I think they see him as a threat to Ben and they don’t want to loose Ben. One thing that people get wrong about Landry is they say he is week in the pocket and can’t take pressure. He is actually very good at avoiding pressure and gets the ball out quickly and throws it away before getting sacked. At OU he threw the ball 2183 times and was only sacked 52 times in four years. He had a handful of bad plays and got a bad rep for it. In the preseason last year behind the third string line he had to throw it away a lot.. but he sill had some success and threw some TD passes. I think Nobody is talking about him because the team wants it that way.

  • RMSteeler

    He’s got to have a Tom Brady type chip on his shoulder. Maybe more since his stats were so much better than Brady. He had to be pissed that a QB needy team didn’t draft him so he could start right away like others in his draft class. But, never read an interview with him or what he thought about going to the Steelers. It’s been a real stealth mode. I actually thought at the time that the Steelers took him for future draft pick bait. Now, I’m not so sure. Ben had missed games the two previous years and they couldn’t pass second round value at the 4th round. How often do you see 4 yr starters in big time programs with stats like his anymore? Maybe because he was drafted is the reason Ben didn’t miss a game last season.

  • Scot Hickerson

    I think that last year Ben finally turned things around half way through the year by embracing the new quick passing Offense, He was sacked 40 times through the first 9 games then only 7 threw the last 7 games. That is a big reason why I think he wasn’t hurt. The Steelers also went 6-2. If they keep it up this year they they will have a great year. After Favre left the packers he had 4 good years left. The colts moved on from manning he probably has another 3 years left. I wonder if the Steelers are going that with Ben. We will see. Landry is a good kid he is very straight laced smart, his wife plays in the WNBA for San Antonio. I think the team doesn’t want any distractions or speculation on future plans so they are keeping him out of the media. I do think he will be the backup this year.