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Mike Tomlin mentioned quarterback mobility again at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. It's the second straight press conference that Tomlin was unprompted in bringing up the subject.
Tomlin said the bye week gave him a chance to look at trends in the game, and one of the big trends right now is mobile quarterbacks who can extend plays.
"From the coach element of it, it's an opportunity for us to self-evaluate and do some self-scouting, some analytical studies relative to what it is that we do," Tomlin said. "But equally important or more importantly than that, we get an opportunity to look at some trends in the game, some things that are going around in the game of football. Offensively defensively, and special teams. I could talk specifically about it. I spent a portion of my day last week looking at quarterback mobility and its impact in situational ball: possession downplay, red zone, etc., etc., as a trend, for example. Different components of man to man on possession downs on the other side in dime and so forth.
"It's good to take a step back and not have to get focused in on one particular opponent or on yourself, and you can take more of a global perspective and look at some broad sweeping discussions as it pertains to the game of football. Those are things that really help you coming out of a bye week."
Having a quarterback with at least some mobility is pretty much a must-have in today's league, although the ageless one Tom Brady is still going strong at 44 years old. While Brady was never one to extend plays outside the pocket, he has always been excellent in regards to his movement in the pocket.
Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best ever at the position when it comes to extending plays, but at the age of 39 now, Roethlisberger's mobility is all but done. Which makes Tomlin's recent comments on quarterback mobility very interesting. That's where the trend is going in the league and the Steelers are going to need to replace Roethlisberger in this year's draft, as all signs point to this season being Roethlisberger's last.
Just judging by Tomlin's statements, it sounds like he wants a mobile quarterback to replace Roethlisberger. Malik Willis of Liberty and Ole Miss' Matt Corral are the most mobile quarterbacks in this year's draft. According to Pro Football Focus, Willis has 51 broken tackles in 2021, just six shy of the record for most in a season by a quarterback. He’s on pace to shatter that mark by a couple of dozen.
Willis and Corral are interesting, but it doesn't seem like there's really an elite quarterback prospect in this year's draft. Carson Strong of Nevada has a great arm, but lacks mobility. And Kenny Pickett of Pitt is a one year wonder and hasn't played great competition this year.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported a few weeks ago that Tomlin doesn't want to start over with a rookie quarterback and would rather work with a veteran. Glazer is close friends with Tomlin also, so that report seems valid.
Perhaps the Steelers could get a veteran quarterback in free agency to take over the reigns for Roethlisberger. But one thing seems clear. The next Steelers' quarterback is going to have some mobility. It's where the league is trending and Tomlin is well aware of that.