(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Dwayne Haskins is one of the most intriguing Steelers players heading into training camp, as he received a lot of praise from his teammates during OTAs and minicamp. The most noteworthy statement coming from Ben Roethlisberger when he unpromptely said that Haskins' release and throwing motion mechanics are some of the "prettiest he's ever seen" and that he could throw a ball through a car wash and "it wouldn't get wet."
Mike Tomlin has been high on Haskins since the draft process and the two also share the same agent, Brian Levy. So, when Haskins flamed out in Washington last year, the Steelers jumped at the chance to sign him to a reserve/future contract following the 2020 season.
It's been well noted that Haskins had a tumultuous tenure in Washington due to a combination of on and off-the-field issues. There were high expectations for Haskins after being the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he just never delivered.
In his two seasons in Washington, Haskins completed 267 of 444 pass attempts for 2,804 yards (60.1%) with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. In 2020, he completed 148 of 241 passes for 1,439 yards and had a 5-7 touchdown-interception ratio. He also has a 3-10 career record as a starter.
Haskins could be a starting quarterback in the NFL someday, but he had some serious accuracy and decision-making issues in Washington. Many felt that Washington picked him too high when he was coming out of Ohio State, as well. He was just a one-year starter at Ohio State and needed to fine-tune some of his skill sets.
"I would bet against him starting early," former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said of Haskins in April of 2019. "He had arguably best offensive line in college football, and a good supporting cast with a proven system. I believe the jump to the NFL will be a big one for him and he will be game manager-type early. I just didn’t see enough NFL throws on tape. And so much success was created by the system. He has shown the baseline skill set to be a successful one-year starter in college against a high level of competition, he shows very good short accuracy and the ability to be a progression passer. However he lacks downfield accuracy on tape and I don’t see him make many NFL throws. So it will take time and development."
Washington head coach Ron Rivera recently admitted that he should have created more competition for Haskins. Rivera also wasn't the coach who drafted Haskins, so it wasn't an ideal situation for the young quarterback. In May, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was on the National Football Show with Dan Sileo and he discussed the Haskins signing.
Colbert said that Haskins is a "young, talented quarterback." However, like Haley, Colbert noted that the Steelers thought Haskins wasn't ready for the NFL level when he was coming out.
“We loved him coming out of Ohio State,” Colbert said . “We always felt that he probably wasn’t ready for the NFL level, you know players make decisions for whatever reason, that’s their decision and he got put into a situation that didn’t work out for him. He’s a good kid, he’s a talented player, he wanted to be here and he wanted another opportunity.”
Colbert also alluded to the fact that Haskins wasn't dealt a good hand with being in Washington. It remains to been seen if Haskins can turn things around in Pittsburgh. We'll get a first look on Aug. 5 when the Steelers play the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game.