QB "mentoring" is overrated | Bonehead Picks

QB “mentoring” is overrated

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t hear any footsteps including Mason Rudolph’s. The third round selection of former Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2018 NFL Draft was surprising on a couple of levels. For one, Rudolph was considered a likely second round pick and potentially a late first round pick due to his high production in college. Secondly, it was also surprising that the Steelers decided to use a third round pick on a quarterback considering they drafted a quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, in the fourth round of last year’s NFL Draft. Since the drafting of Rudolph, it has become clear that Ben Roethlisberger will not be mentoring Mason Rudolph as Rudolph transitions into the NFL and Roethlisberger should not feel the need to. The sports cliché about the veteran quarterback mentoring the talented young rookie quarterback is often overblown as even Ben Roethlisberger can attest to.

Playing quarterback in the NFL is extremely difficult. The complexity and speed of the defenses in the NFL are at an all-time high and NFL quarterbacks face numerous challenges on a weekly basis. While college quarterbacks entering the NFL as rookies will receive intense coaching from their quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, the relationship within the quarterback room is seen as vital to the development of a young signal-caller. For quarterbacks drafted in the first round, the other quarterbacks on the roster of the NFL team play different roles and the most veteran of those quarterbacks are often hit with the “mentor” label.

There were five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. They all find themselves in different situations and quarterback rooms. Top overall pick Cleveland Brown Baker Mayfield will likely sit behind Tyrod Taylor, who will be more focused playing well for his new team than helping Mayfield. New Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was often regarded as the most “raw” of the 2018 NFL Draft quarterback prospects and will enter a Bills quarterback room with former Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron likely the favorite to win the starting quarterback position. This will be McCarron’s first (and potentially) only opportunity to be a starting NFL quarterback so it is safe to say that he will try to fend off Allen more than aid him. Longtime NFL quarterbacks like Sam Bradford of the Cardinals and Josh McCown of the Jets have already welcomed their respective first round quarterbacks with open arms. Former Louisville star Lamar Jackson has not been as well received by veteran Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

If a quarterback succeeds in the NFL, it will not be due to the “mentoring” of a veteran quarterback showing him the ropes like many believe. Ben Roethlisberger’s reaction to the drafting of Mason Rudolph somewhat mirrors the reaction of former Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback Tommy Maddox back in 2004 when Roethlisberger was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Roethlisberger did not win the starting quarterback job during his rookie season but took over after injury and ended up winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Arguably the best two quarterbacks in the NFL today are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady and neither guy received warm “mentoring” from the successful veteran quarterbacks that they acquired the quarterback job from. The NFL is a league of competition and young quarterbacks need to be ready to compete, be focused, and prepared to seize the job when the opportunity strikes.


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