Mason Rudolph and James Washington spent four years lighting up defenses across the Big 12 Sam Shields Jersey
, setting records and winning game after game for Oklahoma State.
Now, the big-armed quarterback and rugged wide receiver are headed to Pittsburgh. Where they will listen. They will learn. And they will wait. For now anyway. When the guys in front of you on the depth chart include Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, there's no other choice.
That's fine for both Washington 鈥?taken in the second round 鈥?and Rudolph 鈥?selected with the first of Pittsburgh's two third-round picks.
"To go on to the next chapter with one of your brothers and the best receiver you've spent your whole college days with and maybe spend 15 years with, it's awesome," said Rudolph said.
Rudolph went 32-9 as a starter with Oklahoma State, the most wins by a quarterback there. Washington set a school record with 4,472 yards receiving, including 125 in Oklahoma State's blowout win over Pittsburgh at Heinz Field last September.
Both players spent the Cowboys' walkthrough the night before the game looking around the stands and playing "what if." Now that "what if" is reality.
"I had no clue this was in the works," Rudolph said.
Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner downplayed the idea that Rudolph will serve as Roethlisberger's eventual heir, though Rudolph is the first quarterback the Steelers have taken before the fourth round since they drafted Roethlisberger 11th overall in 2004.
Fichtner hopes the 36-year-old Roethlisberger plays for another handful of seasons. The two-time Super Bowl winner told teammates after the Steelers fell to Jacksonville in the divisional round of the playoffs he expects to play at least three more years.
"I always keep my fingers crossed that he's healthy and he wants to play," Fichtner said. "It'd be great for us. It'd be great for me Mark Sanchez Jersey
, because he's a guy that's going to be awful hard to replace and if it takes three guys in competition to replace him someday, so be it."
Rudolph will fight for a backup spot with Landry Jones and Josh Dobbs while soaking up what he can from Roethlisberger.
"It's not Ben's job to teach me anything," Rudolph said. "It's my job to learn."
Rudolph set 54 school records during his time at Oklahoma State and at 6-foot-5, 235-pounds is similar to Roethlisberger in terms of size. Whether Rudolph ends up checking all the other boxes, however, is another matter.
The 22-year-old doesn't lack for confidence. Asked if he understands why he slipped to the third round behind the group of five quarterbacks that went in the first round on Thursday, Rudolph admitted the slight will stick with him.
"It's definitely a burning fire that definitely began Thursday night and will keep going for a long time," Rudolph said. "(But) I'm a little done with the comparison questions. I'm confident with the way I stacked up."
So is Washington.
The Steelers grabbed him with the 60th overall selection, immediately filling the void created when Pittsburgh dealt talented but enigmatic Martavis Bryant to Oakland on Thursday.
Though the 5-foot-11 Washington lacks Bryant's size and 4.3 speed, he compensates with a competitiveness that made him productive wherever he lined up in the wide-open offense Rudolph guided.
"He's intelligent (and) he held down his position for a long time," Fichtner said. "We would expect that he have that ability to come in Alfred Blue Jersey
, learn and hold that position down quickly."
Regardless of what the stopwatch says 鈥?Washington ran a so-so 4.54 40-yard dash at the combine 鈥?Washington can get downfield. He averaged 19.8 yards per reception with the Cowboys and showed the kind of elusiveness that allowed him to turn a short pass into a sprint to the end zone.
At 213 pounds, Washington also has the strength to be an effective blocker in the run game and brings a kind of physicality the Steelers have long valued in their receiving group.
"This guy comes in with several tricks," new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said.
Fichtner called Washington "no maintenance," which would be a departure from Bryant, who was twice suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy and was briefly benched last fall after demanding a trade.
This is the second straight year the Steelers have taken a wide receiver in the second round. They selected JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of the 2017 draft. Smith-Schuster's rapid development 鈥?his seven touchdown receptions were the most by a rookie in the NFL last year 鈥?made Bryant expendable.
"They got the best (receiving group) in the league," Washington said. "I can't wait to work with those guys and learn from them."
Pittsburgh picked Western Michigan offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafora with their second third-round selection. Okorafora adds depth to a line that helped the Steelers finish fourth in yards while going 13-3 and claiming their third division title in four years.
It's not quite the draft most expected from Pittsburgh. The Steelers took safety Terrell Edmunds in the first round but focused on offense Friday despite glaring needs at inside linebacker and the secondary.
They'll try to address those needs on Saturday. Pittsburgh has two picks in the fifth and one in the seventh.
It’s the ninth major league team for Jesse Chavez, so he’s not too worried about fitting in with the Chicago Cubs.
Chavez was added to Chicago’s roster as part of a flurry of moves before Saturday’s day-night doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals. The veteran right-hander was acquired in a trade with Texas on Thursday for minor league pitcher Tyler Thomas.
”I’ve played with a couple guys in here,” Chavez said. ”Obviously, throughout the years you get to play each other and develop that on-field relationship a little bit. But now it’s going to different, you know, developing that inside-clubhouse one.”
Chavez made his Chicago debut in the eighth inning in Game 1 and pitched two perfect innings in the Cubs’ 7-2 victory.
”What he did out there John Miller Jersey
, that’s an experienced major league relief pitcher,” manager Joe Maddon said. ”He had a lead to work with. He wasn’t going to mess around. He’s not going to try to nitpick. I’m going to make you put the ball in play on the ground and my defense is going to make the plays. He was outstanding.”
The 34-year-old Chavez went 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA in 30 appearances with the Rangers. He made his major league debut with Pittsburgh in 2008. He also has played for Atlanta, Kansas City, Toronto, Oakland and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels.
Chavez has mostly pitched out of the bullpen, but he also has 70 career starts, including 21 last year with the Angels. He is known for his versatility and durability, two traits that could come in handy for the NL Central-leading Cubs with their starters struggling to go deep into games.
”Long man, middle man, whatever the case may be,” Chavez said. ”If a guy needs a breather Nolan Cromwell Jersey
, give him a breather. Just here to help out honestly.”
The Cubs also placed right-hander Anthony Bass on the 10-day disabled list and optioned right-hander James Norwood to Triple-A Iowa. Relievers Dillon Maples and Luke Farrell were brought up from Iowa, with Farrell serving as the 26th man for the doubleheader.
Bass has a strain on the right side of his back. He was just activated from the DL on Thursday after being sidelined by an illness.
”It got all tightened up,” Maddon said. ”With everything going on, we know it’s going to take several days. It was just better to just back him off, give him the full 10, and then evaluate at that point.”
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