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Tuesday, February 1, 2011
What if Rivers was a Steeler?

By Bill Williamson

What would have happened had Ben Roethlisberger been the No. 4 overall pick of the 2004 draft and ended up in San Diego while Philip Rivers went at No. 11 to Pittsburgh?

Would Pittsburgh be on the verge of its third Super Bowl ring since that draft with Rivers? Would San Diego be a Super Bowl winner if it took Roethlisberger instead?

Rivers
I asked Gary Horton and Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. the question. Interestingly, both Horton and Williamson think the Steelers would be as good with Rivers as they are with Roethlisberger. And neither thinks the Chargers would be as good with Roethlisberger as they were with Rivers. They think Rivers is a good fit for both teams, while Roethlisberger is better suited for the Steelers than the Chargers’ offense.

Here are some of their thoughts:

Horton: “Roethlisberger gets a lot of credit for being a Pittsburgh type of guy because he’s tough. Well, Rivers is also tough. I think Rivers would fit right in with Pittsburgh. There wouldn’t be a drop-off. I’m not sure if it would work as well with Roethlisberger in San Diego. He benefits from a really good team. Rivers has to do it all in San Diego. I don’t think that’s Roethlisberger’s game. I like them both, but I really think Rivers is the type who can fit a lot of teams.”

Williamson: “I think Ben is a better player, but not by leaps and bounds. Rivers is a tremendous player. I think Rivers is a good fit for Norv Turner’s offense. He’s very precise and he’s a strong pocket passer. Roethlisberger works by the seat of his pants and he’s playground-type guy, so I don’t know he’d be a great fit in San Diego. I do think Rivers would fit in Pittsburgh, too. If Rivers was a Steeler, I think they’d have the same success. I don’t see the fact that Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings and Rivers doesn’t as a knock on Rivers. It’s not his fault Roethlisberger is also a good quarterback.”