While other quarterback-chasers are typically retired or rendered subpar by his age, Harrison was a terror who overwhelmed blockers and forced teams to pay extra attention to him on passing downs. Finishing as the 11th-rated edge rusher by Pro Football Focus, Harrison also played well against the run and wound up with the metric site’s third-highest grade in pass coverage.
While we marvel at the feats of a nearly 40-year-old Tom Brady, don’t forget what Harrison has accomplished — and the havoc he continues to wreak — in Pittsburgh. The player and team remain a perfect match, much to the disdain of the AFC North.
The splash signing paid little dividends for Pittsburgh as Green battled injuries, playing in just six games, making two starts. In one season with the Steelers, the tight end caught 18 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown.
Signed to be a seam-stretching threat to replace the retired Heath Miller, Green battled injuries and continuing concussion issues. The tight end had documented concussion history during his four years in San Diego before signing with Pittsburgh. He also underwent ankle surgery last March.
Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015 while being checked during rehab for a torn MCL. He overcame the battle with cancer to be cleared in May 2016.
Before and after the battle with cancer, the bulldozing ball carrier was a workhorse. In 2014, he earned 298 carries for 1,765 yards with 26 rushing scores. In 2016 he had 216 totes for 1,092 yards and 16 TDs.
Enter Southern California’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, whom the Steelers took with the 62nd overall pick Friday night. Smith-Schuster was the first receiver from USC the Steelers have taken in the first two rounds since franchise legend Lynn Swann. The Trojans have had five receivers selected in the second round over the last decade, including Marqise Lee, Robert Woods and Steve Smith.
Drawing comparisons to Anquan Boldin, Smith-Schuster could be the sure-handed counterpart to Ben Roethlisberger’s band of boom-or-bust home run hitters. Smith-Schuster put up 10 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, but peaked in 2015 with 89 catches for 1,454 yards and a 16.3 yard per catch average.
Given Ben Roethlisberger’s flirtation with retirement, the Steelers needed to add a quarterback of the future. In Dobbs, they obtain an athletic leader who should push unsatisfactory Landry Jones for the backup role right out of the gate. With Roethlisberger’s injury history, it will be interesting to track Dobbs’ status as the season progresses. If he indeed passes Jones on the depth chart, the rookie could get thrust into the spotlight earlier than intended.
Dobbs has good size at 6-foot-3, fantastic athleticism and a quick release. An aerospace engineer major, Dobbs has the smarts to be a starting quarterback. The biggest question is his accuracy. For the most part, college quarterbacks who struggle with accuracy rarely improve upon making it to the NFL.
Rooney was born in 1932, fittingly the year before the Steelers’ birth, and his entire life was threaded through the team founded by his father, Art “The Chief” Rooney. He was a ball boy as a teenager, before he began playing halfback at North Catholic High School. That was the position that handled the football in the single-wing offense, and Rooney was good enough at it to be selected second-team All-City Catholic League. The first-team selection was Johnny Unitas. Rooney used to laugh at that, but not at the fact that the Steelers cut Unitas before he went on to greatness with the Baltimore Colts. Rooney, meanwhile, went to Duquesne University and got a degree in accounting, signing players to contracts while he was still in college. He sold tickets and ad space in the game programs, learning every facet of the business in a jack-of-all-trades tutorial that various Rooneys still follow to this day.
By the time he was in his early 30s, Rooney was helping his father run the Steelers. They would attend league meetings together, always sitting next to the Mara family that still owns the New York Giants. And Rooney often said that one of their greatest accomplishments was never giving in to the wooing by other cities that wanted the Steelers to relocate in the 1950s and ’60s, figuring out a way to make the franchise successful and viable, even as Pittsburgh went through dramatic economic cycles.