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Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season is nearly seven months away, but it appears that Kevin Colbert would be comfortable with Mason Rudolph as the Steelers' starting quarterback in 2022.
"If we started a season today, Mason would be our starter," Colbert told reporters on Monday. "He’s 5-4-1 as a starter. We’re excited to see what’s next for Mason."
Remember, Colbert had a first-round grade on Rudolph when he came out of Oklahoma State in 2018. However, Colbert said the Steelers will explore all options at the quarterback position, and Rudolph will be in the mix.
“We know we’re going to add to the position. I can’t tell you how at this point," Colbert said. "We will go to camp with four. If we had to start today with Mason as our starter, let’s go. We’ll try to build the best team around him.”
The Steelers are most likely staring at a 5-12 or 6-11 season if they ride with Rudolph as their starting quarterback in 2022. They're in tough position with Ben Roethlisberger retiring after 18 seasons and not having a true succession plan. If the Steelers don't select a quarterback in the first round of the draft, cheap free agents like Jameis Winston, Mitch Tribusky or Marcus Mariota could be possible options as a bridge quarterback. All three quarterbacks are more proven than Rudolph.
Many consider this year's quarterback class as weak, but Colbert said there is good quality available. Malik Willis of Liberty and Kenny Pickett of Pitt are regarded as the top two quarterbacks in this year's class.
"As far as this draft class of quarterbacks, there's good quality available, probably not as many as there have been in recent years," Colbert said via Bob Labriola of Steelers.com. "But it is what it is, and we had a great look at a lot of the top quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl. That was a great experience to see them back to back on a given day. We saw them all, and it was it was very good work, so we're excited about that whole part of this process."