2011 NFL Draft: Five Late-Round Quarterbacks Who Could Land in Pittsburgh

Nick DeWittAnalyst IApril 16, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Five Late-Round Quarterbacks Who Could Land in Pittsburgh

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    Ben Roethlisberger might be firmly entrenched as the starter in Pittsburgh, but the depth behind him is quite underwhelming. Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch comprise the current list, with Dennis Dixon a possibility to return once a CBA is attained and free agency begins.

    That said, there are several quarterbacks who will be available late in this year's draft and could eventually be groomed to be a fine backup for the Steelers' stellar starter.

    With Roethlisberger's backyard style of play, it is essential that the Steelers have a good, useful No. 2 man just in case he can't make it through the regular season unscathed.

1. Greg McElroy, Alabama

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    What You Need to Know

    McElroy has a decent arm and is a sound decision maker. He's not prone to big mistakes, but he also doesn't make a ton of flashy plays, either.

    All in all, he's a steady quarterback who would probably be a good fit in a run-heavy offense. He can make plays when asked to and is a good leader on and off the field.

    McElroy probably doesn't have the potential to start in the NFL, although we said the same thing about Tom Brady in 2000. At this point, however, he projects as an excellent backup at the professional level who would be very capable of stepping in to start for short stints if needed.

     

    When Can Pittsburgh Get Him?

    He's probably a sixth-rounder at this point. He's had a good lead up to the draft, so he may even slip into the fifth round. If he's around late, Pittsburgh could look at him as a good value pick.

2. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa

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    What You Need to Know

    Stanzi already looks good in Black and Gold. He's also a heady player who has been adept at one of Ben Roethlisberger's tricks: the fourth quarter comeback.

    He knows how to play from behind and claim victory. He's also accurate, has experience in a professional style offense, and has all of the leadership and intangibles you could hope for.

    Where he's lacking is arm strength. He's not going to throw many bombs in the NFL. He also needs some work on technique, particularly in footwork, which is essential to being an effective NFL passer.

     

    When Can Pittsburgh Get Him?

    Stanzi will be a mid-draft selection, probably anywhere between Round 4 and Round 6. He eventually could be a starter in a West Coast system, but in Pittsburgh he'd be an excellent backup.

3. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

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    What You Need to Know

    Tolzien is basically a poor man's Ben Roethlisberger. He is accurate (led the NCAA in completion percentage this year), good on the run, and has a strong arm. He's not the same athlete as Big Ben and isn't built the same way.

    He's got a ton of potential and upside, but he's a lock to be a competitive backup at the NFL level.

    He could surprise and emerge as a starter someday, but he's got a long road ahead and needs a lot of work on technique and execution before he's ready for prime time.

     

    When Can Pittsburgh Get Him?

    They could go for him in the seventh round or could pick him up on the undrafted free agent market.

    He could go at the end of Round 6 as well, but at this point there are a lot of quarterbacks ahead of him on draft boards.

4. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech

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    What You Need to Know

    Taylor is an athletic, physical quarterback who is more likely to be a wildcat or a slash player at the next level.

    He isn't the most accurate or strong-armed quarterback, so he may not be much more than a versatile depth option in the NFL, but he could, with the proper coaching, end up becoming very successful.

    The Steelers value versatility in their backups, so Taylor might be someone worth taking a look at with a late flier or in the free agent market. He could be the player that the Steelers always hoped Kordell Stewart could become.

     

    When Can the Steelers Get Him?

    He'll be around very late and may slip out of the draft altogether. They may not want to take the chance, especially if Dennis Dixon is healthy and willing to return, but Taylor might be a better and more versatile player, so you never really know.

5. Taylor Potts, Texas Tech

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    What You Need to Know

    Potts is a big, accurate quarterback who's put up big numbers in his college career. Texas Tech has never run a pro-style offense, but there are reasons to believe Potts could be a successful NFL passer.

    He's got the size and accuracy and has a decent arm. He's a good decision maker and has proven to be adept at creating plays throughout his college career.

    Pittsburgh could pick him up late and develop him into a solid backup while keeping Charlie Batch or Byron Leftwich around for a year or two as insurance.

     

    When Can the Steelers Get Him?

    He'll be around in the seventh round and could slip out of the draft if teams are scared off by his lack of experience in a more pro-style system. Pittsburgh could opt for him on the free agent market and end up with a steal.