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2018 Offseason Questions: Smoke Or Blowing Smoke With Mason Rudolph?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: Is there really smoke for the Mason Rudolph fire, or are the Steelers just blowing smoke?

Over the course of the past couple of days, focus has begun to narrow on Mason Rudolph, regarded as one of the top six quarterbacks coming out of a class understood to be deeper than average. It’s quite possible that as many as all six of the quarterbacks included in that group get selected in the first round.

Rudolph is generally put toward the back of the class, often at sixth and rarely better than fourth, but that doesn’t mean evaluators are always right or that he can’t become the best pro. Many have drawn comparisons to the Steelers passing on Dan Marino in 1993, or the Packers not passing on Aaron Rodgers.

Regardless of one’s own personal feelings about drafting any quarterback now, or on Rudolph in particular, the interesting question we are working to dissect is whether the Steelers’ exploration of the quarterback is genuine; that is, if he is available, or even in striking distance, will they pursue and draft him in the first round?

Now, if you truly believe that a quarterback is worthy of leading your franchise for the next decade, you’re not going to cross your fingers and hope he slides into the second. It’s just far too big of a risk, and certainly wouldn’t fit Kevin Colbert’s modus operandi.

Theoretically, he may end up as their highest player on their board left in round two, but it would say something about their evaluation if they have an opportunity to take him in round one and do not.

The Steelers even a couple of years ago talked about, as they approach the end of Ben Roethlisberger’s career, dusting off their quarterback evaluation abilities, spending more time doing their ‘due diligence’ with quarterbacks.

Is that what we’re seeing here, not just initially, but altogether? Will he be very high on their draft board come draft day? In so many words, do they see him as the potential heir apparent to the starting quarterback position?

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