Former 1st-Round Bust Dwayne Haskins Jr. States His Case to Replace Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers’ Starting QB: ‘I Got Drafted for That Reason’

The 2022 NFL offseason is shaping up to be an interesting one for the Pittsburgh Steelers. General manager Kevin Colbert is likely stepping down after the draft. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger‘s retirement is looming. It’s unclear who will be starting at quarterback in Pittsburgh in 2022. But Dwayne Haskins Jr. believes he’s ready to redeem himself after a disappointing start to his career.

Dwayne Haskins Jr. believes he can be the Steelers’ starter in 2022

Ben Roethlisberger's backup Dwayne Haskins Jr. in action for the Steelers against the Panthers
Dwayne Haskins Jr. of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during preseason game against the Carolina Panthers | Chris Keane/Getty Images

After getting released by the Washington Football Team after just two seasons, Dwayne Haskins Jr. found a new home with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While it was difficult to gauge where the young quarterback’s career was heading, Mike Tomlin and company gave Haskins a second chance.

Haskins spent most of the 2021 season on the bench as the team’s third-string quarterback. He sat behind Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph but did get some run in the preseason.

With Big Ben most likely retiring in the offseason, the former 4-star quarterback will have a chance to compete for the starting gig. Haskins has the utmost belief in himself and believes he is ready to redeem himself.

“Having to play early, I never had a chance to learn the NFL game the way it should be done and the way the Steelers wanted done,” Haskins said per AP News’ Will Graves. “It gave me an opportunity to understand the ‘Steelers Way’ and how they wanted their quarterbacks to operate.”

The 24-year-old can now fight to fix his reputation as a first-round bust.

“I definitely feel like I can be a starter in this league,” he added. “I got drafted for that reason, and I believe I can play with the best of them. Really just haven’t put it all together yet. And I know I have to do that if I want to put myself in a position to play.”

The Ohio State product hasn’t done much with his NFL opportunity

The Washington Football Team was excited about the prospects of Dwayne Haskins Jr. becoming the team’s franchise quarterback. The Ohio State product played his high school ball at nearby Bullis School, so he got the opportunity to play in front of family and friends. However, things didn’t pan out how either side imagined.

Haskins appeared in nine games as a rookie, making seven starts. As with most young quarterbacks, he had his ups and downs early on. He threw for 1,365 yards, seven touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing 58.6% of his passes.

The former Buckeyes star didn’t fare any better the following season. Haskins finished with 1,439 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions in seven games. Washington posted a combined 3-10 record with him under center.

The front office spent a first-round draft pick to select Haskins. Unfortunately, the early returns didn’t match the capital used to draft him. Washington grew tired of waiting on his surprisingly slow development. Maturity concerns off the field made it that much easier for the team to part ways with him.

After seemingly squandering an opportunity, Dwayne Haskins’ NFL future was uncertain. That was until the Pittsburgh Steelers took a chance on him.

Pittsburgh shouldn’t feel confident in Haskins or Mason Rudolph

After an impressive 18-year NFL career, Ben Roethlisberger has most likely played his final game as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His impending departure puts the team in an intriguing situation heading into the offseason.

The front office must search for Big Ben’s replacement. The process should be thorough, though. Mike Tomlin’s squad had a down year but still finished with a 9-7-1 record and reached the playoffs.

The longtime Steelers head coach advised that the team would be exploring “all options” when finding someone to replace Roethlisberger.

Considering the top brass’ hesitancy to shell out hefty contracts, going after a veteran on the trade market is unlikely. Instead, Pittsburgh appears willing to go into 2022 with a quarterback already on the roster.

Mason Rudolph is the early favorite, considering the team listed him as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart. Dwayne Haskins Jr. wants to compete for the job as well. Unfortunately, neither player has done anything to instill confidence moving forward.

Rudolph has started 10 games in his career, posting a 5-4-1 record. Still, most people only remember him for his brawl with Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.

Neither Rudolph nor Haskins should get the green light. It’s difficult to imagine the Steelers beginning the post-Ben Roethlisberger era with that much uncertainty at quarterback.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

RELATED: Mason Rudolph Has Inside Track To Replace Ben Roethlisberger as Steelers’ Starter in ’22