A solid performance in the Steelers' preseason finale will all but seal Dwayne Haskins' spot on Pittsburgh's 53-man roster. A stellar outing may propel him past Mason Rudolph as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart. Haskins will get an opportunity to improve his standing on Friday night, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced on Wednesday that the former first-round pick will start Pittsburgh's final preseason game against the Panthers.
While Friday will be his first start, Haskins has played in each of the Steelers' preseason games. He went 8 of 13 for 54 yards in Pittsburgh's win over the Dallas in the Hall of Fame Game. He went 16 of 22 for 161 yards and a touchdown while directing four scoring drives in the Steelers' second preseason game, a 24-16 win in Philadelphia. In Saturday's 26-20 win over the visiting Lions, Haskins was 4 of 7 for 56 yards in what was his only drive of the game.
Haskins' play has put pressure on Rudolph, who served as Roethlisberger's primary backup the previous two seasons. While he has enjoyed a high completion percentage during the preseason, Rudolph did not direct the Steelers' offense on a single scoring drive during their first two preseason games. And while he never got the offense over the goal line, Rudolph did orchestrate three drives that ended in Chris Boswell fields goals against the Lions. In three possessions of work, Rudolph went 13 of 18 for 138 yards while keeping his grip on the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
Tomlin's announcement will certainly come as good news for Haskins, who has been chomping at the bit to get live reps with Pittsburgh's first-team offense.
"As a competitor, of course, you want to get with the guys that make the plays," Haskins said after Pittsburgh's second preseason game. 'I do a great job of listening to Ben [Roethlisberger] and having conversations with the starting receivers, getting to know what they like and how they see the field. If that happens, I just want to be ready for it. … I feel like I have a great relationship and chemistry with all of the receivers, but if I get an opportunity, I want to make the most of it."
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