The Steelers will soon need a new starting quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is entering his 39-year-old season and has shown signs of regressing over the past two seasons.
That said, pittsburgh did not address the quarterback position during the 2021 nfl draft. instead, they scoured the free agent market and picked another promising young player to develop behind roethlisberger. that’s dwayne haskins.
Yes, Haskins, a 2019 first-round pick out of Ohio State, is on the Steelers. He was originally drafted by the Washington football team with the 15th overall pick, but just two years into his career, he’s already in Pittsburgh.
and so far during his time there, haskins has made quite an impression on mike tomlin.
“He’s grown by leaps and bounds,” Tomlin said of Haskins after a practice in early August, according to athletic brand Kaboly. “He does a good job of communicating with the coaches, with the players, getting an understanding of what we’re trying to do schematically and his role in it, getting a specific relationship with the receivers, trying to do the things we want him to do. do in the drilling work that we do. we’ve emphasized that drilling work is similar to football, but not necessarily football, so we have certain things that we emphasize in those circumstances. I think you’ve done a good job of that. I think a lot of guys have done it.”
It’s certainly encouraging news for the 24-year-old quarterback as he looks to become the Steelers quarterback of the future.
but how did he get to pittsburgh so fast? And why was Washington so willing to walk away from him? That’s how the Steelers ended up with Haskins on their roster less than two years after Washington drafted him in the first round.
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why did washington release dwayne haskins?
haskins was released by washington after a disastrous performance in week 16 that was preceded by a rough week for the quarterback.
After a Week 15 loss to the Seahawks, Haskins was photographed at his girlfriend’s birthday party with strippers. He wasn’t wearing a mask despite NFL covid protocols, and it was his second violation of covid protocols of the season. As a result, the team’s quarterback was fined $40,000 and the captaincy was stripped from him.
however, washington decided to keep him for the week 16 game against the panthers. Alex Smith and Kyle Allen were not available for the game, so only Haskins, Taylor Heinicke, and Steven Montez were available. Haskins had been with the team longer, so Ron Rivera, in the midst of the playoff hunt, opted to keep Haskins around.
haskins performance against the panthers was not good. He completed half of his passes for 154 yards, two interceptions and a lost fumble before being benched for Heinicke. The backup outclassed Haskins despite only recently joining the team. before that, he had been finishing his career in old domain.
After that performance, Rivera decided it was time to let Haskins go and issued a statement confirming it, according to ESPN’s John Keim.
I told him I think it’s in both parties’ interest to go our separate ways. We want to thank dwayne for his contributions over the last two seasons and wish him well in the future.
Beyond that, Rivera acknowledged that a trade could help Haskins. if not, hitting rock bottom could serve as a wake-up call for the young quarterback.
“sometimes you have to go through hard hits. sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get out of there. sometimes a change helps,” rivera said. “with dwayne, it’s: what have you learned? what are you going to get out of these experiences that will help you grow and improve? that’s the big thing with him and what i hope he learns from these experiences. hopefully, they will do more strong and they’ll help him and hopefully when he gets his next chance, he’ll make the most of it.”
Haskins has that opportunity with the Steelers and will look to make amends for the mistakes he made during his 20-month stint in Washington.
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why did the steelers sign dwayne haskins?
Haskins signed with the Steelers in January 2021, about a month after Washington cut him. Pittsburgh was a sensible landing place for Haskins, as the Steelers don’t have a succession plan in place for Ben Roethlisberger, 39.
sure, pittsburgh still has mason rudolph on the list in addition to haskins. but getting the 2019 first-round pick without having to give up any draft capital was a shrewd move for a team in need of a quarterback of the future. if it goes well, great. if not, they haven’t risked anything for an affordable asset.
so, long story short, the steelers signed haskins because of his potential and the need for a quarterback.
As for why Haskins signed with the Steelers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter explained on “NFL Live” that it comes down to Haskins believing he has a good chance to get his career back on track in Pittsburgh.
“From the moment the washington football team released dwayne haskins, I think he sat down and reflected on some of the things he wishes he had done differently in washington,” schefter said. “I think he took some time to work on himself, to think about what he wanted to do in the future. he had visited the carolina panthers. he visited the pittsburgh steelers today, which I don’t think is accidental.
“dwayne haskins changed agents, he hired a guy named brian levy. brian levy also represents mike tomlin, so there’s a comfort factor that i think brian levy and cedric saunders, the agents, felt comfortable in trying to make that relationship a reality because they thought it would be good for dwayne in the long run. right now, he needs to get his career back on track. what better way to do that than in pittsburgh under the tutelage of mike tomlin?
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steelers qb depth chart
Currently, haskins sits at no. 3 on the Steelers quarterback depth chart. Roethlisberger is currently the starter, while Rudolph is currently cemented as Big Ben’s backup. Rudolph will be Haskins’ main competition as he looks to contend for the backup spot.
haskins, however, is ahead of joshua dobbs, a former steelers fourth-round pick in the 2017 nfl draft. this is hardly a surprise considering the steelers once traded dobbs with the Jaguars for a fifth-round pick in 2019.
haskins may not rise above third place this year. But with Roethlisberger nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career, Haskins should be on the team. If he does, he’ll be eyeing the 2022 offseason as his chance to reclaim the Steelers’ starting job.