The 2013 NFL Draft was unique in that no running backs were taken in the first round, as sign of rules changes which are heavily tilting the game in favor of the pass. Several team grabbed running backs in the second round, including the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- Now is the time to examine the Steelers draft needs at running back in 2014.
The Steelers of course took Le’Veon Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft and, after an injury-slowed start, Bell gave them a lot of reason to have faith that he is “their” running back for the foreseeable future.
- Outside of Will Johnson, however, the Steelers have looked at their current crop of rushers and found them wanting.
Jonathan Dwyer is now in Pittsburgh West, Isaac Redman found himself cut at mid-season and remains teamless, as does Felix Jones. The Steelers did sign LeGarrette Blount, who should provide excellent depth at a very fair salary cap value. After that, the cupboard is thin, very thin.
Outside of Le’veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount and Johnson, and Blount, the Steelers have Alvester Alexander and Miguel Maysonet under contract, neither of which has an NFL regular season to his name, although both have practice squad experience. In addition to Jones, the Steelers could bring back LaRod Stephens-Howling after June first.
Steelers Need RB Depth in the Draft
Times change. The Pittsburgh Steelers started the 2000 season with Jerome Bettis, Richard Huntley, and Amos Zereoue at half back, and Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala and Jon Witman at fullback, both of whom were capable of carrying the ball. They also had Dan Krieder on the practice squad.
- That’s 6 running backs who had or would get significant NFL starting experience.
However, when one says “The Steelers need running back depth” 2000 is not even remotely close to the standard. No, the Steelers last year appeared more than content to go with 3 half backs and 1 full back on the regular season roster, and it could be the same again in 2014.
However, they will not depend on Alexander or Maysonet to deliver that depth, nor would they likely rely on Stephens-Howling as a reserve, should they choose to bring him back. That means the Steelers will be looking to add depth.
- But don’t expect them to add a running back early.
The Steelers running back needs in the 2014 NFL Draft should be considered moderate.