Winning awards at the college level, may not always translate to success in the NFL.
For Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph, this is a lesson he has learned since being drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His rookie season, was the equivalent of a redshirt year, as he learned behind veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The year 2019 for Rudolph, would present unexpected challenges, Roethlisberger would be sidelined for the season a serious elbow ailment.
Being a starter was not unfamiliar with Rudolph. During his time at Oklahoma State, he made 41 career starts, and left with an impressive 32-9 record. In the NFL level, however, he would encounter numerous obstacles. His dismal play would garner criticism from the Steelers fanbase, who eventually took an emotional attachment to his backup, Devlin Hodges. Yet, through all the peaks and valleys of the season, Rudolph's team narrowly missed making the postseason.
As it stands, the Steelers have many uncertainties at the quarterback position. Roethlisberger, whose regression towards the end of the season was apparent, carries at sizeable $41.25 million cap hit; a cap hit Steelers owner Art Rooney II made clear was not feasible this upcoming season. Then there is the curious case of Dwayne Haskins, a once top pick, whose off-the-field transgressions and poor play, resulted in his release from the Washington Football Team. Despite all his talent, his value to the team is still unknown.
Rudolph surprisingly, is the lone constant at the quarterback position. Regardless of what happens to Roethlisberger or Haskins this upcoming season, Rudolph still remains a reliable option on their roster.