PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The NFL Draft is Thursday, and each day leading up to the selections, KDKA will profile players on the Steelers’ radar.
Today, we take a look at the running back position.
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The Steelers didn’t address the running back position in free agency, which leads me to believe they will do it in the draft.
James Conner has shown he can be the Steelers number one back, but health has been a major issue with the former Pitt product.
You know the saying, the best ability is availability, and Conner has had issues being available. Last season he missed 6 games and parts of a few others. He is also in his last year of his rookie contract.
The Steelers drafted Benny Snell last year and he had a couple good games filling in for Conner, but injuries were also an issue with both Snell and Jaylen Samuels last season.
I think the Steelers find a running back with one of their first two picks in this year’s draft. They should also have a couple options if they decide to do it with their first pick.
D’Andre Swift might be the best back in this year’s draft and he could be available at 49. Swift is an every down back and averaged 6.2 yards a carry last season at Georgia.
A couple Big Ten backs could also be there. Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is one of the fastest backs in the draft, running a 4.39 at the combine. That is pretty impressive given his size.
Taylor rushed for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns last year, which happens to be the same exact numbers as Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins isn’t as fast as Taylor, but was impressive last season for OSU, especially the last 4 games of the season against Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Clemson.
LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire could be also be an option. He is just as dangerous on the ground and might be the best receiving threat of all of the backs.
If the Steelers wait until the 3rd round, Florida State’s Cam Akers could be there. Akers rushed for 1,144 yards for the Seminoles last year. The Steelers met with him and Utah’s Zack Moss. Moss could be a day three option.