Ex-Steelers QB Josh Dobbs Signed by Division Leader

Josh Dobbs Steelers

Justin Berl/Getty Images Joshua Dobbs of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field on August 9, 2019.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs hasn’t appeared in an NFL regular-season game since 2020. But today he’s as close to doing so as anytime in the last two years.

On Dec. 21, 2022, Tennessee signed the former 4th-round pick to its 53-man roster, having plucked him off the practice squad of the Detroit Lions. The move comes in the wake of Titans starter Ryan Tannehill having reaggravated an ankle injury in Tennessee’s most recent game. According to Titans insider Paul Kuharsky, that ankle injury will “very likely” cause the former first-round pick to miss the remainder of the season.

Josh Dobbs Expected to Back up Malik Willis on Saturday

That makes Dobbs, 27, a near lock to back up rookie third-round pick Malik Willis when the Titans (7-7) host the Houston Texans (1-12-1) in Nashville on Christmas Eve. (Tennessee also has quarterback Kevin Hogan on its practice squad, but Hogan was signed just last week.)

Pittsburgh fans will no doubt recall how Willis was frequently linked to the Steelers in the runup to the 2022 draft, with some observers comparing the Liberty University product to former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart. But the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett in the first round, leaving Willis to fall in the draft until the Titans grabbed him at No. 86 overall.

Willis has already appeared in seven regular-season games for the Titans, making two starts (1-1) in place on Tannehill. But he has attempted a total of just 38 passes, with 17 completions (44.7%) for 177 yards and one interception, as per Pro Football Reference (PFR).

As for Dobbs, he started the year with the Cleveland Browns, but was waived in November when QB Deshaun Watson returned from an 11-game suspension. Dobbs went on to join the Lions practice squad on Dec. 5 and was elevated to the active roster for Detroit’s Week 15 tilt against the Jets.

Dobbs entered the league in 2017 when the Steelers selected him No. 135 overall. He appeared in a total of six games during the four years he spent in Pittsburgh, with most of his action coming in 2018, when he served as QB2 behind Ben Roethlisberger.

Dobbs will wear No. 11 with the Titans after donning No. 15 with the Browns and No. 5 with the Steelers.

Former Steelers CB Justin Layne Claimed by Panthers

Meanwhile, former Steelers third-round pick Justin Layne joined his fourth NFL team on Wednesday when he was claimed on waivers by the Carolina Panthers.

Layne, who was released by the Steelers on Aug. 30 after three full seasons in Pittsburgh, has bounced around the league since then. First he was claimed by the Giants and went on to appear in seven games for New York before he was waived and picked up by the Bears. His tenure in Chicago was even more short-lived, appearing in two games before the Bears released him.

To date, Layne has played in a total of 52 regular-season games, but the overwhelming majority of his career snaps (80.5%) have come on special teams. According to PFR, he has been credited with 45 career tackles (32 solo), with one pass defensed and one fumble recovery.

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