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Inside The Wheelhouse: Should the Pittsburgh Steelers draft a QB at 18?

Mike TomlinWith all the latest “Big Ben” drama coming out of Pittsburgh in the last month and a potential suspension on the rise, one has to wonder as we are days away from the NFL Draft whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers will go out and select a Quarterback with their 18th overall pick. Ben Roethlisberger is going to get suspended from the NFL without a doubt. If he does not for some reason Roger Goodell will be looking at a ton of backlash from the media, fans and support groups alike.

As the wave of new allegations from different women come out regarding potential sexual abuse that was done to them by the Steelers QB you have to big to wonder how much longer the Steelers franchise will invest time into the quarterback that helped guide them to two Super Bowl Championships in the last five seasons. If I’m the Rooney family there is only so much time left on that hourglass where I can back up Ben Roethlisberger as the Quarterback and face of our franchise. That time might be coming up in the next couple of days as we await the punishment Ben will face from the NFL.

With that being said and the NFL Draft days away as well, one has to wonder whether or not when it comes time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to go up for their 18th pick in the 1st round if they will go for a Quarterback. It’s at least worth pondering for the next couple of days leading up to the draft if the Steelers may surprise many people and go down that route. We have seen crazier things happen at the Draft.

Now the first thing people will go out and say is that when/if Ben Roethlisberger does get suspended the Steelers still have Dennis Dixon, who I would assume would be the 2nd stringer going into 2010 and veteran Charlie Batch on the Pittsburgh depth chart. Now say Roethlisberger is suspended from anywhere between 4-8 games. Is Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch the person you would want to lead your team for 1 or 2 months of the regular season?

While many Steelers fans will say that Dixon could be a star, I don’t think one NFL game under his belt shows me enough potential to have me say the Steelers will be a .500 team while Ben Roethlisberger is serving, what one would assume, a suspension. This will take me to my next point on what the Steelers may end up doing in a couple of days with the 18th overall pick in the NFL Draft. It is something that could shock some when it happens but may gain steam in the rumor mill if “Big Ben” is issued a vacation away from the NFL.

[adinserter block=”1″]One would have to assume that behind close doors right now, the Rooney family is contemplating whether or not they can continue to back and support Ben Roethlisberger as their Quarterback/face of the franchise. There are too many “alleged” stories out there that have made the rounds in the last couple of weeks that paint the picture of Ben Roethlisberger “allegedly” being some sort of sexual predator. These stories do not bold well for the support system of Ben Roethlisberger right now as there are too many of these “alleged” instances where some sort of sexual abuse is “allegedly” taking place between an accuser and the Steelers quarterback.

Should the Rooney family finally take a stance where they are no longer supporting Ben Roethlisberger as their franchise quarterback and are willing to move forward into another direction that may have different scenarios that could play out this Thursday night at the Draft.

The Steelers have the 18th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, a very solid pick with still a decent amount of talent left on the board. My first thought that plays into mind regarding this pick and their quarterback situation is the Steelers trying to find a way to trade up in the draft for a pick that can solidify them to being able to pick a player like Jimmy Clausen. Let’s face it, unless something crazy happens, Sam Bradford is going to be a St. Louis Ram. The other four picks (2-5) in the draft do not need a quarterback, a perfect chance to make a run at Clausen.

The Steelers can trade up to a pick in the 2-5 spot. I would assume Washington at 4 would be a better chance to make a deal with because I don’t see Detroit or Tampa making a play to give up the 2nd and 3rd pick in the Draft. The Steelers could trade the 18th pick along with other round picks or 2011 picks for a pick to take a shot on Jimmy Clausen. They could even trade “Big Ben” to one of those teams (Tampa Bay would then be the best shot to take Big Ben, or even possibly Seattle at 6 or Cleveland at 7) and get a top pick to draft Clausen.

Jimmy Clausen is the 2nd best Quarterback on the board and some people even regard him as the best quarterback in the draft since he has essentially played in an NFL system under Charlie Weis at Norte Dame. Clausen has a strong arm and has been highly touted for sometime. He also doesn’t have the injury problem to his shoulder that Sam Bradford has, making him less of a question mark. Clausen in Pittsburgh would mean a changing of a new leaf there and a start of a somewhat rebuilding process for the franchise, sending them 2-3 seasons back as a legit team again.

[adinserter block=”2″]The Steelers can even hold onto the 18th pick and hold onto “Big Ben” and go for a distinct reach in the 1st round by drafting a Colt McCoy or even a Tim Tebow. While many NFL experts see those two players as, at best, early 2nd rounders, you have to still think that these guys could be success stories in the NFL. McCoy is a small quarterback, has amazing arm strength, and was a great college QB that was projected at best as an early 2nd rounder, very similar to a quarterback that just won a Super Bowl Championship in Drew Brees.

Tim Tebow, whether you like him or not, is a leader. He is a team leader and he is more importantly a winner. I am not an overally huge Tim Tebow fan, but I respect everything he has accomplished in the College game. His work ethic is very hard to come by and you have to figure that he has a large chip on his shoulder to prove to all the doubters that he can be successful in the NFL. I feel that despite all the scouting reports that go against him, I feel that his overall will that he has will overcome all the doubters that are out their on his potential NFL game.

With the latter of the scenarios I have etched out in this blog, you still hold onto Ben Roethlisberger as your quarterback. You hope that this is soon forgotten and that the suspension isn’t as severe as some people are projecting it to be. Sticking with your quarterback through thick and thin maybe the way the Steelers have to go in this.

To me, if I’m the Pittsburgh Steelers, I need to take the blueprint from the Atlanta Falcons when they were dealing with their quarterback drama when Michael Vick was found to be guilty of dog fighting charges. That is, to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The Falcons did that, literally sacrificed an entire season, got the 3rd pick in the NFL draft and drafted Matt Ryan out of Boston College. There franchise has since made a dramatic turn and will be threats in the NFC south for sometime now. They adapted and they overcame the problems that there franchise was facing.

There are many scenarios that the Pittsburgh Steelers could be facing in the next couple of days when it comes to their Quarterback position. They can even use their late 2nd round pick and draft a guy like Tony Pike, who was extremely successful in Cincinnati. At the end of it all the Steelers may come out of the NFL draft not drafting a single quarterback and stick with what they got. At least for the time being, it is interesting to possible see different scenarios that could happen at the quarterback position for the gold & black. The Steelers have quite the scenario right now.

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Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at and at @ 2am ET/11pm PT

Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site. There you can also download many different shows including “The Wheelhouse”, “24 on 24” and “Lost: Smoke Monsters and You.”

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