Ben Roethlisberger is hanging up his cleats after the 2021 NFL season. Replacing him won’t be easy, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have to move on — here’s how.
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have to move on from Ben Roethlisberger after the 2021 NFL season. Big Ben hasn’t made it official, but according to Adam Schefter, the NFL vet is hanging up his cleats after 17 seasons. The former Miami of Ohio signal-caller is one of the most decorated players in Steelers history. He’s made six Pro Bowls and helped the team to win over 160 games while also capturing Championships for two different coaches.
When it’s all said and done, Big Ben is on pace to finish his career 5th all-time in passing yards with over 6,4000 yards through the air. He’s also on pace to finish with 419 passing touchdowns, which is good enough for r6th all time.
Steelers fans were hoping for a repeat of the greatest send-off team history. Hall of Fame Steeler Jerome Bettis retired after winning a title back in 2006. Regardless of how the season ends, there’s a new era on the horizon. Needless to say, whoever steps in for future Hall of Fame quarterback will have big cleats to fill. There are a few directions the Steelers can go to replace Big Ben.
How might the Pittsburgh Steelers replace Ben Roethlisberger in 2022?
5. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
If you haven’t heard of Malik Willis, it’s understandable. Early on, NFL Draft media thought the small school star could become the Trey Lance to the 2022 NFL Draft — he still could be. Willis hasn’t had a perfect season by any means. He’s made a few mistakes, but he also made some amazing plays. What stands out about Willis is his arm strength. He’s confident, almost to a fault, but he has a right to be given how powerful his arm is.
He’s 6-1 215-pounds with good speed, agility, and power. Willis isn’t a statue in the pocket, and he’ll make up for offensive line deficiencies. When things are tight, he’ll escape out the pocket and make teams pay. Willis proved he’s a threat on the ground. Over the last two seasons, Willis combined for 1,764 yards and 25 touchdowns. Imagine what he can do with Najee Harris on RPOs.
Willis is a late first, early second-round prospect who could fall into the Steelers laps. With the weapons at wide receiver, at running back, and the defense, the Steelers can afford to start him right away. There will be some growing pains, but his athleticism, arm talent, and surrounding cast will allow for a promising rookie season.