The landscape at the quarterback position in the NFL has changed dramatically in the NFL.  The amount of elite quarterbacks, particularly in the AFC has grown over the last several years.  Players like Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert promise to rule the conference for many years to come.  Which brings us to the question are the Steelers good enough at quarterback to make a run at a championship any time in the near future.  Is there really a scenario where either Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett rise to the level of those other elite quarterbacks?  Or is this team doomed to mediocrity for the next decade?

Other teams around the league have realized that just being good at quarterback doesn’t cut it, and are taking drastic measures to fix it.   Take the San Francisco 49ers for example.  They have a quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who has already taken them to a Super Bowl.  The 49ers realized however that Garoppolo isn’t quite at the level where he can get them over the hump of obtaining a Lombardi trophy.  Rather than stand pat and accept being just a playoff team, San Francisco traded up to draft Trey Lance in the hopes that they could improve the position enough to finally win a Super Bowl.  It’s certainly a risk, but the 49ers are clearly not happy just being good.  They are betting it all in the hopes of being great.

The Los Angeles Rams are the poster boy for this new way of thinking in the NFL.  They came within ten points of winning a Super Bowl with Jared Goff in 2018.  Even with coming so close to a championship, the Rams made the decision that being just good at quarterback wasn’t good enough.  Two seasons later, Los Angeles made a blockbuster trade with the Lions to acquire Mathew Stafford.  That gamble paid off handsomely with the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl win.

This brings us to the Steelers quarterback situation.  Is Pittsburgh making a mistake not being aggressive to address the quarterback position?  They signed Mitch Trubisky in hopes of resurrecting the former second overall pick’s career.  Many, including us here at Steelers Sanctuary, believe there is plenty of upside with Trubisky.  The reality is however, there doesn’t seem to be any scenario where he outplays the likes of Mahomes or Allen in a playoff game.  None whatsoever if we are really being honest with ourselves.

The same can be said of Kenny Pickett.  Drafting the best of a really bad quarterback class does not bode well for the Steelers future at the position.  Many believe the 2023 draft will be far better at quarterback.  There is always the possibility that Pickett develops into an elite player.  To write him off from that completely would be unfair.  It is much more likely however that he becomes a mediocre, or slightly better quarterback going forward.

What the Steelers have done at quarterback is completely on brand.  This franchise is notorious for its being as conservative as any in the NFL.  Being conservative, and building through the draft has served them well over the years.  Taking the safe route at this position has become less and less effective in recent years.  The teams making bold moves at quarterback are the ones being rewarded with championships.  Pittsburgh’s cautious approach at replacing Ben Roethlisberger will leave them as a fringe playoff team for years to come.  This is not what we have come to expect from a franchise synonymous with winning Super Bowls.  It is however, the most likely outcome going forward.