Steelers not ruling out QB in 1st round

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

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Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert isn’t dismissing the notion of selecting a quarterback with the team’s first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Drafting a quarterback in the first round hasn’t been done in the Steel City since the Steelers used their 11th overall pick in 2004 on Ben Roethlisberger. With “Big Ben” chiming in at 36 years of age, Colbert isn’t shying away from using the 28th overall pick on a quarterback.

“We haven’t eliminated any position this year,” Colbert said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Our job is not only to win a championship in ’18, it’s to secure this franchise’s ability to do it in the future, and you have to have a great player at the quarterback position in our eyes to have the best chance to win a championship.”

Colbert was also quick to credit Roethlisberger’s accomplishments.

“Look, Ben’s a Hall of Fame quarterback,” he continued. “We’re very lucky to have him. He has stated his intention to play at least a few more years, and that’s awesome. … Fortunately, we have one who is still a very highly productive, highly efficient quarterback, so part of our job is to surround him with the best talent as well. So we have to weigh that in, and we will weigh that in throughout, but we haven’t eliminated any position in this draft whatsoever.”

Looking at quarterbacks, senior analyst Rob Rang lists USC’s Sam Darnold first and UCLA’s Josh Rosen second in his most recent Big Board. Josh Allen (Wyoming) is ranked 10th by Rang, former Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) is 14th, Lamar Jackson (Louisville) 15th and Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) is 55th.

The Cleveland Browns are expected to select a quarterback with either the top overall pick or fourth overall pick. The New York Giants (second), New York Jets (third), Miami Dolphins (11th) and Buffalo Bills (12th) could also be looking to add a quarterback.

Coach Mike Tomlin had dinner with Jackson last month while the Steelers also had representatives at Rudolph’s pro day.

Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, passed for more than 3,500 yards and ran for more than 1,500 in each of the final two college seasons before declaring early for the NFL Draft. He was measured at 6-foot-2, 216 pounds at the NFL Combine.

Rudolph completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 13,618 yards and 92 touchdowns with 26 interceptions during his four-year career at Oklahoma State.

Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, has appeared in 19 games with the team. He completed 23 of 28 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his only game in 2017, a 28-24 victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 17.

Third-string quarterback Josh Dobbs completed 59.4 percent of his passes during the preseason while throwing two touchdowns against three interceptions. He did not play in a regular-season game.