Steelers Cannot Waste 2013 Draft Pick on QB

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Steelers need to stick with veteran free agent back up QB formula

From 1990-1992 Bubby Brister and Neil O’Donnell backed each other up. Both were Steeler 3rd round draft picks. Both left the Steelers to have successful careers as back ups.  The backup quarterbacks the Steelers have had since 1993 that did not come by way of the Steelers draft:

Mike Tomczak       1985    UFA          Chicago              Steelers 1993-1999

Kent Graham        1992    8thround    NY Giants          Steelers 2000

Tommy Maddox    1992    1stround     Denver              Steelers 2001-2005

Charlie Batch        1998    2ndround    Detroit               Steelers 2003-

Byron Leftwich       2003    1stround    Jacksonville      Steelers 2008, 2010-2012

Mike Tomczak throws for 338 in Steelers to victory over Kansas City in 1996 Monday night game. Image Courtesy of

With the exception of Kent Graham the remaining 4 have had success with Pittsburgh and brought stability to the organization at the quarterback position for the past 20 years –  through veteran free agent signings, not the draft. 

Maddox and Tomczak both saved entire seasons when they took over the starting role during the season leading the Steelers to the playoffs. Maddox for Stewart in 2002 and Tomczak for Miller in 1996.  For 10 years Charlie Batch has filled in at key times and had some significant wins for the Steelers which was never more evident than this past years upset win at Baltimore, the eventual Superbowl Champion. The Steelers need to use their picks today on positions of need and continue to let the other NFL teams do their grooming for them.

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  • Wes Orrick

    You are an idiot. They dont need to draft a QB to be a starter, but THEY HAVE NO BACKUP QB. ZERO NADA ZILCH.

    • Craig

      Far from it – both from an idiot standpoint and that the Steelers don’t have a backup.

      Jim presents a pretty solid case (whether you want to agree or not) that the Steelers have had more success in picking up a vet quarterback who has recently left their original drafted team than trying to draft a backup. That’s his point – that you fail to miss.

      As for a backup – they have four right now. Gradkowski, Batch, and JPW. JPW is a stretch, but Gradkowski and Batch are perfectly fine backups. Batch has always been solid for the Steelers over the years, and Gradkowski brings experience and skill to the table that Leftwich and Dixon could not. Adding Landry Jones to the mix and Batch is probably out. Even though Jones was a stretch for his value and when he went in the draft, he is still going to be a decent backup and might find himself leading this team should Ben not take another snap for the Steelers.

  • Hart

    I completely disagree on several levels.

    1. Gradkowski is a CAPABLE backup but greatly overrated. He is capable…..that is all.

    2. Charlie Batch is crypt-keeper old. I love what he has done……but he is DONE. Make him a team rep, coach or whatever……..playing career over. He won that game against Baltimore…….not by setting the game on fire or anything and the team partied like it was a SUper Bowl win. Cuz it was his LAST WIN>

    3. Your argument against drafting a QB to develop in later rounds is not sound now with the CBA. If you draft a QB in round 4 don’t you get four or five years at minimal money with that QB? Why not develop him for 4 or 5 years? Bruce Gradkowski better now after 5 or 6 years in 5 different systems than Landry Jones could be after two in the same system to learn and to still have for another 2 or 3 years?? Don’t think so. And this leads directly into……..

    4. Ben Roethlisberger is NOT IN HIS PRIME RIGHT NOW. He is in the prime of his contract but not his playing career. He is 31 right now and an old 31 when you consider he plays like a Crash Test Dummy with a rocket on his shoulder……willing to take a ton of abuse as long as he can launch that last-second bomb. Steelers have won two super bowls with him. But you have to admit he cannot last as long as a Marino, Montana, Brees, Rodgers or Brady with his style of play. He has missed numerous games the last few years and should have missed more if you add in the games he played but wasn’t anywhere near ready to play. He has played 16 games how many times in his career? You think that will get better after age 31?? IT WILL NOT.

    5. Drafting a qB to develop for 4 or 5 years is perfect right now considering you needed a backup anyway. A reliable backup in the system. And why can’t Landry Jones be ready to take over in 4 or 5 years? Gradkowski backup now, Landry take over as backup (in the same system) for the next few. That is perfect.

    I think the pick was fine. Steelers needed a QB.