17 Mar

Posted by Mike Huff, March 17th 2012, 8:13 am EST

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed two quarterbacks this off-season.

Troy Smith and Jerrod Johnson.

There is obvious excitement surrounding Smith, the former Heisman winner, but it’s the other – less touted player – who may end up being a steal of a signing.

Jerrod Johnson played his college ball at Texas A&M where he finished his career, albeit on the sidelines, the Aggies’ all-time leader in total offense.

A 6’5 250 lb. athlete, Johnson can run and pass. He has a cannon for an arm and, although he has yet to show it post-college, is a very efficient decision maker when in the pocket.

During his senior season (2010) Johnson lost his starting job due to injury. Ryan Tannehill stepped in and hasn’t come out of the starting lineup since. Despite losing the job, Johnson continued to support Tannehill and the team during the remainder of the season and even acted as an extension of the coaching staff on the sideline during games.

Going undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft, largely due to poor pre-draft workouts, Johnson was selected as the number one overall pick in the UFL Draft. But the team which drafted him – the Hartford Colonials – folded shortly after. Johnson never played a down in the UFL.

He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles last summer and subsequently released a month later.

He spent the remainder of 2011 as a member of Arena Football’s Arizona Rattlers.

An undeniably gifted athlete, Johnson has shown patience and resiliency despite a slow start to his professional career.

He has a long road ahead of him if he wants to make the roster here in Pittsburgh. The team reportedly wants to re-sign incumbent backup Byron Leftwich, and Smith will be more than adequate competition. Veteran backup Charlie Batch is a wild card that, while not initially frightening, needs to be accounted for. The team has made sacrifices to hold onto the Pittsburgh native in the past.

It’s going to be difficult to get reps in practice.

But somehow, we think Johnson is going to impress.




  1. WHAT IF: STEELERS TRADED BIG BEN « Pittsburgh Football Report - March 18, 2012

    […] a long term deal? I don’t know if you believe in any of those guys enough. Does Troy Smith or Jerrod Johnson take the […]

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