(The first in a series examining the Steelers' 90-man roster as the team heads to training camp to begin the process of cutting down to 53 players in advance of the 2020 regular season.)
ON THE ROSTER NOW: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, Paxton Lynch, J.T. Barrett.
ON THE ROSTER IN SEPTEMBER: The Steelers have had exactly three quarterbacks on their opening-day roster every year but 2004 and 2005 during the Kevin Colbert era, and of course every year of the Mike Tomlin era.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT: Rudolph had a 5-3 record as a first-time starter, and he likely would have helped the team into the playoffs, but his appearance in relief of starter Devlin Hodges against the New York Jets ended prematurely when he was injured late in the third quarter after he helped erase a 10-0 deficit and brought the Steelers into a 10-10 tie. Rudolph's 104 passer rating that day gave him a final rating of 82 for the year. Former third-round pick Neil O'Donnell had an 83.6 rating during his second year in the league, no doubt helped by the fact it was his second season as a starter.
KEY DEPARTURES: Josh Dobbs was on the 2019 opening-day roster and was traded a day later to Jacksonville for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
KEY ADDITIONS: Roethlisberger played the first game and a half before shutting it down for the remainder of the season with an elbow injury. After having the elbow surgically repaired, he's back and healthy.
FIGHT TO THE FINISH: The No. 3 battle could be interesting. Hodges gained valuable experience last season; Lynch is a former first-round pick with all the size, arm strength, and mobility one could ever need; and Barrett is a high-pedigreed four-year starter from Ohio State who held the interest of the New Orleans Saints for the two seasons he spent on their practice squad.
THE SKINNY: Reports are glowing – to say the least – about Roethlisberger's arm strength. It makes sense, since Kevin Colbert hinted back in February that Roethlisberger's arm might even be better this season. The Steelers are no doubt praying that this season proceeds as scheduled since all the pieces appear to be in place if Ben's arm remains as strong as it is at this point. Rudolph impressed when he rebounded from the Myles Garrett incident and that could one day prove to be the turning point of his career. Don't underestimate Hodges and what last year's experience will do for him in his second season. Lynch threw many poor interceptions in practice, but he has unbelievable tools. It became obvious why he was drafted in the first round in 2016. Barrett understands competition, and he has won his share. A job is here for the taking if his game comes together, but he really could use a full preseason.
NEXT: Running Backs