One of the more interesting debates during this 2013 NFL off-season has been whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers are rebuilding or reloading. I no longer believe teams rebuild int eh NFL anymore simply because free agency has been around long enough now to that point where teams should have an understanding how it works and how you can use it to plug holes.
One of the areas that can sometimes signal a rebuild vs a reload is the drafting of a quarterback. In weeks past, the Steelers have visited West Virginia University where Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and other Mountaineers held their pro days. The Steelers also reportedly dined with Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray who some believe could be a 3rd, 4th or 5th round pick.
Whether the Steelers draft a QB or not should not signal anything negative towards Ben Roethlisberger nor should he be offended by it, but he would have every right to ask why are they drafting a guy if the team has already signed veteran back-up Bruce Gradkowski?
In the battle of rebuild vs reload I believe this team falls in between and regardless, the use of a draft pick on a quarterback in my opinion is a waste of a pick.
The Steelers have holes at running back, wide receiver and outside linebacker. They lack depth in the secondary, along the defensive line and offensive line as well. Drafting a QB wastes an opportunity to fill those holes and replace depth. Any QB that comes in for 2013 will see the field in the preseason only and then will be relegated to 3rd-string if not practice squad duty. This is not how you replace players and add depth.
If the Steelers were coming off of a Super Bowl year and Roethlisberger was 34-35 years old, then by all means draft a QB. You either develop the young man to replace Roethlisberger or as is common these days, you could shop him for more picks in future drafts. I would have no problem with this and stockpiling picks is an excellent way to fill holes and add depth.
Draft picks are like gold today. The Steelers as of right now will have selections in each round and an extra in the seventh as a compensatory pick. That means the team can select eight players. If you look at the recent history of General Manager Kevin Colbert in terms of his drafting you’ll find a lot of wasted picks in there. This is the season the Steelers can not afford another wasted draft.
They must find players who can play immediately whether that be on offense or defense or even on special teams. Drafting players like a QB who will sit all season is pointless at the current time. If Gradkowski and even John Parker Wilson not been signed then I’d probably be more willing to go in this direction but not now.
Quarterback is not a position of need right now whether Roethlisberger missed 2-3 games or not due to injury. If Charlie Batch can win in Baltimore at his advanced age then he can certainly do it again a year later.
The Steelers need talent at too many other positions to be selecting a quarterback a month from now.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.