PITTSBURGH, MAY 26 -- University of Maryland fans looked at him and saw another Boomer Esiason. Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Chuck Noll looks at him and sees another Bubby Brister.

No matter where he goes, Neil O'Donnell continues to be compared with AFC Central Division quarterbacks.

"I saw Boomer Esiason just last weekend and he said: 'You're going to be seeing a lot of me,' " O'Donnell said.

That's nothing new, since O'Donnell has been hearing about Esiason for years. O'Donnell was the second most productive quarterback in Maryland football history. Only Esiason, the former Terrapins star who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, produced better numbers.

O'Donnell will be seeing a lot of Esiason and a lot of Brister -- mostly from the bench. One of the Steelers' two third-round picks in last month's NFL draft, O'Donnell will back up Brister for the time being as he tries to establish his own NFL identity.

"Obviously, the Steelers are expecting me to do something, but they have their No. 1 quarterback," O'Donnell said at Pittsburgh's minicamp. "Bubby's been great with me, has been willing to help me out and work with me."

O'Donnell threw for 4,989 yards, 26 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in three seasons at Maryland. As a senior, he passed for 2,103 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions despite playing on a 3-7-1 team.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound O'Donnell was the sixth quarterback drafted this year, or a little higher than some of the draft analysts projected. Some scouts looked at him and judged him too mechanical and lacking in improvisational skills. Not Noll.

"He's very much like Bubby," Noll said. "He has the same kind of poise and big-play ability. He could make something happen after the primary play disintegrated. He was able to get out {of the pocket} and find people. He's a guy we had trouble passing up."

Following the NFL scouting combine workouts, O'Donnell was positive he compared favorably with the rest of the quarterback Class of 1990, even Jeff George, the Indianapolis Colts' $15 million man.

"I was with the 20 quarterbacks supposed to be the best in the country and I felt I did very well overall," O'Donnell said.