Dunlap: Steelers Should Draft A Quarterback

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Happy 35th Birthday, Ben Roethlisberger.

I love ya, man. Love the way you play.

Been such a great time watching you and I truly hope you have some more magic in that right arm of yours.

You have been one of the finest quarterbacks I have had the pleasure of fixing my eyes on.

That escapability.

That never-give-in style.

That grit and fortitude and the way you seemingly piece that big body together and get up no matter how hard of a lick you take. That’s something, man.

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You have brought football glory to this town, have packed a stadium and forced people to wave that towel until their arms hurt worse than when they used to work a bunch of overtime hours down at the mill.

How’s this for a birthday present, though Ben … it’s probably time to draft the guy who be the next Steelers quarterback. Or, at least, the guy who should be groomed to potentially be the next full-time Steelers’ quarterback after you retire.

Is that harsh? Maybe.

But it just feels like it is time.

After all, you are the guy who hinted at retirement on “The Cook & Poni Show” not too long ago. No one made you do that; you did it of your own accord.

Anyhow, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert spoke to all of this on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

“You always have to be prepared to select a quarterback at some point,” Colbert said. “He’s aware of that, we’ve talked about it. He understands that if we add someone into the mix we will do that at some point. But it doesn’t change way we scout. We scout the entire draft class. We don’t do it by position. Every year we scout the top quarterbacks even when Ben was a younger player.”

Except he isn’t anymore. As was pointed out earlier, he turns 35 today.

And with that said, even if someone might not be ready to step in and play right away (or, more so Roethlisberger might not be ready to retire tomorrow) isn’t it in the Steelers’ best interest to grab a quarterback early on in this draft?

My opinion is that it is.

My opinion is that the Steelers should take a quarterback in the second round of this coming draft.

And, in this order, I’d take Deshaun Watson of Clemson, Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech or Brad Kaaya of Miami (Fla.) if any of those guys are available when the Steelers have their second round pick.

I’ve seen enough of Landry Jones to know he isn’t the successor to Ben Roethlisberger. I’d take my chances that one of the aforementioned college quarterbacks could be.

In taking one of those guys, it makes no difference they would have to stand there and be a backup with a ballcap on for a few seasons, learning under Big Ben. Heck, to me, that’s a huge advantage.

I’m not ready for Ben Roethlisberger’s career as a Pittsburgh Steeler to come to an end. What I am ready to do is plan for the future and start to insulate myself from being caught in a really bad situation. That’s why the process of a life without Ben should start to get underway with this upcoming draft.

It’s a process with a first step that should be taking a quarterback in the second round.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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