5 Quarterbacks the Pittsburgh Steelers Could Draft in 2013
The Pittsburgh Steelers need a quarterback this offseason. That isn't to say they will be replacing star Ben Roethlisberger, just that they need to replace his backups. If 2012 taught one lesson, it was that Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich no longer measure up.
With the draft filled with borderline quarterbacks, it should be easy to get someone in the middle rounds that can be developed into a fine backup or even a potential long-term starter should something unexpected happen to Roethlisberger.
Here's a look at five players Pittsburgh should target.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Landry Jones was once considered a top prospect that would go in the early part of the first round. He's fallen down draft boards a lot in the last season or so and now is projecting as a mid-round player.
That could be a coup for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jones is an athletic guy that can move around and extend the play. While he isn't to be confused with Ben Roethlisberger, he certainly isn't Drew Bledsoe.
Jones has a good arm as well and could improve his accuracy with some time. He'd also fit well in the Steelers' offense where short, quick passing is at a premium.
If the Steelers plan to invest at the position (and they must), this is the player they should select in the third or fourth round. Not only does he project as an excellent backup, he could eventually become Ben Roethlisberger's replacement.
Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio)
In 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected a quarterback from a smallish Ohio school. Ben Roethlisberger had the best rookie season of any quarterback in NFL history up to that point and the rest has become history.
Could they go back to that school for his next backup?
Zac Dysert is an interesting player. Maddeningly inconsistent at times, he has all of the right tools to be a good NFL quarterback. He just hasn't put them all together.
His college system did him no favors. Shotgun-heavy offenses prevent guys from learning how to read defenses quickly and really run a professional offense. That will take time to teach and correct.
The accuracy numbers aren't always pretty either, particular when he's forced to move around. He is mobile and that accuracy could improve.
He's a clear project guy for the fifth or sixth round, but he could be a good fit given his build (a little smaller, but similar to Roethlisberger) and the fact that he's versatile (like a poor man's Colin Kaepernick).
Collin Klein, Kansas State
Klein's the classic dark-horse player who could use a big performance at the Scouting Combine to propel himself back up the draft board.
Right now, I'd say Klein rates as a late sixth-round choice. He has an odd part of his delivery that may or may not be able to be corrected by an NFL coaching staff and his deep accuracy isn't where it needs to be.
What Klein does have that will help him is a competitive nature and a natural leadership style that conveys confidence to teammates and coaches. He has that intangible that can't be taught.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, he's a good project player that could become a seriously good quarterback in the NFL with some coaching. Philip Rivers is another guy who has a strange delivery but has found plenty of success at the highest level.
This would be a good fit because Klein will need time to develop and adjust his mechanics. He's a great athlete and tough runner that brings to mind the way Ben Roethlisberger is when carrying he football himself.
Matt Scott, Arizona
Colin Kaepernick, for better or worse, has changed the way teams view the quarterback position. In 10 starts, he's made the best case yet for the read-option becoming a routine part of NFL offenses.
For teams looking for that kind of versatility, Matt Scott could be an option late in the 2013 NFL Draft. He's a small guy for a quarterback (not really a big deal if you consider what Drew Brees has done to the league over his career), but he has great speed and is hard to read when he's able to run or pass.
While his legs are a huge part of his game, he's also a good passer with a quick release and solid accuracy numbers.
In Pittsburgh, he'd be good running the short-passing offense and could give the Steelers a "slash" player that they've had success with before.
The Steelers could use an injection of athleticism behind Ben Roethlisberger after watching the statuesque Byron Leftwich and ancient Charlie Batch struggle last season.
Nick Florence, Baylor
Nick Florence is another athletic dual-threat guy that can beat you with his arm and legs. He's not nearly as advanced as the other players on this list and would be a huge project for Todd Haley and Randy Fichtner if he comes to Pittsburgh.
In his senior season, Florence was much better than expected in his first season as a starter. He was more accurate, but still makes too many risky throws deep.
The athleticism will get him into an NFL camp this summer, but he'd be no more than a sixth or seventh-round selection in the draft.
If the Steelers sign a veteran quarterback like Matt Moore to back up Ben Roethlisberger, they could elect to draft or sign a player like Florence to develop behind him.
If nothing else, Florence is a good practice squad addition that could become a competent NFL backup with time and work.
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