Pittsburgh Steelers’ 20 prospects in 20 days: Big Ben 2.0?

The Steelers32 writing team continues highlighting potential Steelers' prospects by looking at California QB, Davis Webb as Big Ben 2.0.

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Nov 5, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) passes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) passes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With all the talk surrounding Ben Roethlisberger and his potential retirement, the Steelers may want to look at a guy that fits the mold. As the Steelers32 writing team continues with their potential prospects for the Steelers, they turn their attention to California quarterback, Davis Webb.

Webb is not being talked about enough and that may play perfectly into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ hands. Other than the Steelers showing interest in Webb at his pro-day, not much has been reported about Webb fitting the bill as Roethlisberger’s replacement.


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Webb is an accomplished quarterback with one of the most complicated stories in terms of play. A transfer student from Texas Tech, Webb finished his collegiate career playing with University of California Berkeley in Sonny Dykes’ “Bear-Raid” offense.

Overview

As a senior, Webb’s stat line was impressive, but not unusually good for a spread-type offense. Webb completed 382 of 620 passes at a 61.6 percent completion-rate for 4,295 yards scoring 37 touchdowns; while throwing 12 interceptions. Webb would not only be invited to the Senior Bowl, he would go out and perform well enough to be named the game’s MVP. Webb completed 11 of 16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. Last year’s Senior Bowl MVP was a little known gentleman by the name of Dak Prescott.

Beginning his career at Texas Tech, Webb was only the second true freshman in school history. Webb had a magnificent freshman season and took the Red Raiders to the 2013 Holiday Bowl. Webb had himself a day against the 15th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. Named the Holiday Bowl MVP, Webb completed 28/41 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns.

In 2014 Webb was placed on the Maxwell and Manning Award watch list, an award given for college’s best quarterback. Eight games into the season Webb suffered a season-ending ankle fracture. While being out, he then opted to have shoulder surgery from a previous injury. His sophomore season 2014 stats were 211 completions on 345 attempts for 2,539 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

2015 was a difficult year for Webb. After finally being cleared to play the coach had moved on to quarterback and fellow draft prospect Patrick Mahomes as his starter. Webb would spend the season as a backup before making the decision to transfer.

Strengths
Webb Stands 6-foot-4 ⅝-inches tall and weighs 229 pounds; perfect size for your prototypical dropback passer. Webb has enough meat on him to withstand Pennsylvania winters and defensive linemen alike.

Davis will never be mistaken for Mike Vick, but a 4.79 second 40-yard dash time shows when things breakdown, Webb can make things happen with his legs.

An incredibly bright young man as well; Webb is a diligent and tireless worker with the utmost confidence in himself. Webb possesses all the physical tools and the upside could be tremendous, given the proper grooming.

Weaknesses 

Pressure gets to Webb; when teams put hits on the young man, he will get anxious and listen for footsteps. Rattled by the rush, pressure affects his accuracy; he must learn to steady himself in the midst of poor protection.

Webb has issues determining his throws pre-snap or making poor decisions about where to go with the football. Being a spread-system quarterback, has hampered Webb’s ability to read coverage and decipher what the defense is actually doing. This causes him to stare down wide receivers which is not good at all.

Coming from a spread-offense, Webb will need to make many adjustments to his game. Consequently his footwork, huddle operation and snap taking will need to be improved at the next level.

Final Thoughts

Davis Webb is far from the perfect quarterback, but so was a relatively unknown kid from Miami of Ohio. Webb fits the mold of a Steelers’ quarterback; he is big, tall and can move around in and out of the pocket. It also helps Webb has an absolute hose for an arm.

Todd Haley’s offense constructed as is, is an offense tailored for Webb’s strengths. The Steelers’ line is good in both pass pro and run blocking. With Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant’s impending return and Darrius Heyward-Bey’s speed, Webb would have a receiving corps far more capable than any he has ever played with.

Ask the coaches at Texas Tech and now at Cal and they’ll all tell you the same things. I’m the hardest worker in the facility, I’m a great teammate. And I can spin the rock better than anyone in the country.” -Davis Webb to CSNBayArea.com

While he may have lost his position to Patrick Mahomes, whom many consider to be a better prospect, Webb has not lost confidence in himself or his desire to lead by example. With Big Ben contemplating retirement, the Steelers have taken a great interest in Webb; having attended his pro day and bringing him in for an official private visit.

If the Steelers want to draft Webb, they will most-likely need to spend one of their two third-round selections on the young gunslinger.

Philip Robinson is a national content writer for cover32 and also covers the Pittsburgh Steelers. Follow P-Rob on Twitter @philiprrobinson.

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