The Pittsburgh Steelers’ history at quarterback during the Ben Roethlisberger era has been simple. Roethlisberger has been the man, but plenty of other talented quarterbacks have been brought in to assist during his time in Pittsburgh.
So much of the Steelers’ history since 2004 has been wrapped about Roethlisberger’s on field success, but it doesn’t negate what these quarterbacks did when they were collegiate athletes.
In fact, a recent article by ESPN ranked the Top 60 college quarterbacks of the 2000s, and you know I was looking to see which Steelers quarterbacks found their way onto this list. To be fair, I only included quarterbacks who at least started a game for the black and gold.
With that said, take a look at the Steelers quarterbacks who made the list, as well as their ranking, below:
53. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Stats: 13,618 passing yards, 63% completion rate, 92 TD, 26 INT, 17 rushing TDs
Few quarterbacks have ever thrown a prettier deep ball. The Cowboys won 10 games and finished in the AP top 20 in all three of Rudolph’s seasons as a starter. They’ve averaged eight wins since he left.
41. Byron Leftwich, Marshall
Stats: 11,903 passing yards, 65% completion rate, 89 TD, 28 INT, 6 rushing TD
An old-school gunslinger, Leftwich led the Thundering Herd to two conference titles and produced two enduring memories: leading a 30-point comeback over East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl and, the next year, nearly leading one against Akron with a broken leg.
36. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Stats: 16,646 passing yards, 64% completion rate, 123 TD, 52 INT, 3 rushing TD
Here’s a complete list of power-conference QBs who have thrown for more yards than Jones:
It was hard to appreciate Jones’ steady excellence in real time, but by the time he had graduated he had put together a four-year statistical résumé that, even in the near-decade that has followed, no one has surpassed.
26. Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (Ohio)
Stats: 10,829 passing yards, 66% completion rate, 84 TD, 34 INT, 7 rushing TD
After two sturdy seasons, Big Ben put together an all-timer in 2003. His Redhawks beat Northwestern by 30, averaged 47 points per game in MAC play, then walloped Louisville in the GMAC Bowl to finish 10th in the AP poll.
I am sure many of you are wondering who made the Top 10 of this ESPN list, so here it is. Keep in mind this is focused solely on college production, not NFL success:
10. Robert Griffin III — Baylor
9. Marcus Mariota — Oregon
8. Lamar Jackson — Louisville
7. Kyler Murray — Oklahoma
6. Deshaun Watson — Clemson
5. Joe Burrow — Ohio State/LSU
4. Tim Tebow — Florida
3. Vince Young — Texas
2. Cam Newton — Auburn
1. Baker Mayfield — Oklahoma
Let us know your thoughts on the above list in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.