Eli Manning is retired and learning to use Twitter. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers have moved on to new teams. A first-round draft pick, Jordan Love, threatens to end Aaron Rodgers’ long run in Green Bay. And NFL fans are anticipating a new generation of star quarterbacks, led by Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
Through it all, Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, 38, is still widely considered to be a Top 10 NFL quarterback, this in spite of the fact that Big Ben is fighting his way back from season-ending elbow surgery.
Better yet, head coach Mike Tomlin likes what he has heard about Roethlisberger’s progress, both from players who have had a chance to work with him—and from medical experts, who “are comfortable where he is and his readiness for 2020.”
Mike Tomlin on progress of Ben Roethlisberger: "He's comfortable and pleased where he is. Some people who had the opportunity to work with him are impressed and pleased where he is. The medical experts are comfortable where he is and his readiness for 2020."
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) June 23, 2020
CBSSports.com Ranks Ben Roethlisberger No. 10 in the NFL
Further proof that Roethlisberger’s game still commands respect comes courtesy of Sean Wagner-McGough of CBSSports.com, who rates Big Ben as the tenth-best QB in the NFL entering 2020. In fact he sees him as one of ten QBs who are poised for ‘huge seasons’ in 2020, ranking him ahead of both Matt Ryan and the aforementioned Rodgers.
Never mind the concerns about Roethlisberger’s age, his elbow, his offseason regimen, or supposed lack thereof. “The last time we got a meaningful glimpse of Big Ben back during the 2018 season, he was still the Big Ben we’ve all come to know over the past 15 years,” writes Wagner-McGough, reminding us that Roethlisberger threw for 5,129 yards that season, along with 34 touchdowns.
Roethlisberger doesn’t need Antonio Brown, says Wagner-McGough, not with a now-healthy JuJu Smith-Schuster and the addition of tight end Eric Ebron in free agency, both of whom hope to return to their 2018 form. Roethlisberger is also excited to have the chance to work with second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who has been labeled as a potential breakout player in 2020, and could realistically emerge as the Steelers’ No. 1 receiver.
Wagner-McGough also appreciates that Roethlisberger will be playing behind a “dependable offensive line,” one that is expected to experience little turnover since last season, which could be an advantage in this COVID-19 shortened offseason.
It was only yesterday that head coach Mike Tomlin announced that Matt Feiler—who recently signed his second-round tender as a restricted free agent—will be first in line to potentially replace Ramon Foster at left guard, saying “those that have experience and have been a part of this thing are probably going to have a leg up as a basis to begin.” That also explains why Zach Banner and Chuks Okafor are currently the leading contenders to take over for Feiler at right tackle, assuming Feiler’s shift to left guard ends up being permanent.
Pro Football Focus: Ben Roethlisberger Still a Top 10 QB
Meanwhile, if you don’t put much stock in the word of a single NFL analyst, it’s also worth noting that Wagner-McGough isn’t the only analyst to have Ben Roethlisberger rated as a Top 10 NFL QB.
Pro Football Focus recently ranked Roethlisberger ninth among the NFL’s 32 projected starting quarterbacks. Even Chris Simms still likes Roethlisberger’s prospects for 2020, though he’s not quite as bullish, rating him as the No. 14 quarterback in the NFL.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
READ NEXT: Tom Brady to Steelers in New NFL Redraft