Joe Burrow Puts Pressure on the Steelers' Future
The Steelers got their final college taste of a player they'll be game planning against for years to come. The already-declared first overall pick, Joe Burrow, put on a showcase of his talent against the only other quarterback some considered "the best" in college football.
There are plenty of talented quarterbacks, though. The NCAA pushes new NFL passers to the league each offseason, but Burrow stands tall above the rest.
The 2020 class is filled with top tier play callers. Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason, Jalen Hurts, will fill the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, but all following Burrow at number one.
The difference maker is his swagger. It's something the Cincinnati Bengals have been missing for years. They had it with Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson. A.J. Green and Joe Mixon carry some of it, but need a quarterback to complete it. Joe Burrow brings "I can beat anyone" mentality - exactly what Cincy needs to put it all together.
In one season he went from Ohio State backup to the best quarterback in college football. In one season he convinced an entire nation that he's unstoppable, and against the man many believed was the only player better at his position, he shut all the doubt down.
Now, he heads to the NFL, and more importantly, the Bengals.
In an AFC North filled with Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield, another first-round quarterback will join the mix. As the Steelers continue to try and push themselves to be a playoff team - something they can be when healthy - they're playing a dangerous game with the teams around them.
The immediate future still looks bright with the hopes of Ben Roethlisberger returning and hopefully a quarterback coach joining the staff to work with the younger guys on the roster.
In three years, though, things can be different. Pittsburgh is now on a time crunch to find the next answer, or make Mason Rudolph the answer, before Roethlisberger retires and they're stuck searching for answers against three first-round quarterbacks in the AFC North.
Adding Burrow to the division puts a timetable on the Steelers' back. This team is no longer a "now" team and needs to consider the future. They have quarterbacks around them who can become something the league hasn't seen before. Lamar Jackson is an MVP deep and still hasn't won a playoff game. Chances are his career is only going up from here.
If Mayfield can figure it out he's just as big of a threat as the rest of them. And for Joe Burrow, we all watched on Monday night what he's capable of in big stages.
It's time to think now about what's coming. Adding the future of the quarterback position to their offseason needs becomes a priority for the Steelers this year.
Something they want to do before they're left searching for answers while playing Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks six times a year.