Will Dobbs offer Steelers a glimpse of the future?

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (5) passes to running back Knile Davis (34) during an NFL training camp football practice, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Latrobe, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Josh Dobbs is a quick study.

The aerospace engineering graduate from the University of Tennessee who completed a five-year degree in four could have gone a number of different routes post-college, but his gifts as a quarterback allowed him to be drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers are hoping there’s a little bit of magic in the 135th overall pick, the same spot the Dallas Cowboys took Dak Prescott a year ago.

Dobbs was considered a good prospect coming out of Tennessee, but widely viewed as a guy that has come nowhere close to reaching his potential.

The thought process by many pundits is that once he got to the NFL and was able to focus on football full-time, he would blossom.

That line of thinking is sure to be debated even more given what current UCLA quarterback and projected first round pick Josh Rosen had to say to Bleacher Report when asked about balancing academics and football: “Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way.”

That last part certainly doesn’t describe Dobbs, and Rosen does bring up some very interesting points in the full interview, which I encourage everyone to read.

In Dobbs’ case, he devoted more time to academics then most other football players in the SEC because he had to. So count me in as those who are excited to see what he can do when focused solely on football.

Steelers fans don’t have to wait very long to get their first glimpse of the him, as the rookie will start the preseason opener against the New York Giants on Friday (7 p.m., NFL Network).

That is the by-product of Mike Tomlin opting not to play Ben Roethlisberger and No. 2 quarterback Landry Jones out with an abdominal injury.

Jones, who has served as the Steelers backup the previous three seasons, was widely viewed to continue in that roll this season, but a good preseason performance by Dobbs could make things interesting.

Let’s be honest, though, the Steelers are hoping neither takes a meaningful snap this season, because that would mean Roethlisberger is injured.

But Jones is what he is, a career backup.

Dobbs could be something more, and the Steelers wouldn’t have wasted a pick on him, even a fourth rounder, if they didn’t think he at least had a chance to be the heir apparent to Roethlisberger, who has hinted at retirement.

His every move will be dissected Friday night, not only by the coaching staff, but by a fan base that would like some reassurance that they won’t have to go 22 years between franchise quarterbacks like they did from the time Terry Bradshaw retired until Roethlisberger was drafted.

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