View Full Version : Steelers likely to add to RB stable

04-21-2012, 09:50 AM
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Steelers likely to add to RB stable

By Scott Brown
Saturday, April 21, 2012

All signs from Rashard Mendenhall's surgically repaired right knee to the relative inexperience behind him point to the Steelers selecting a running back in the NFL Draft.

Just don't expect it to happen Thursday night.

The position has lost its shine when it comes to the draft. This could be the second consecutive year that only one running back is taken in the first round; Alabama's Trent Richardson is the only lock.

Running backs have been seemingly marginalized, and even Steelers coach Mike Tomlin concedes an argument can be made that their value has decreased.

"That's a fair discussion," he said, "but I don't think that's the case for the running back position in our building."

The punishing nature of the position and the proliferation of passing are reasons NFL teams might think twice about drafting a running back early. Past drafts are also instructive when taking a big-picture look at the position.

The three running backs taken in the first round of the 2009 draft Knowshon Moreno, Donald Brown and Beanie Wells have one 1,000-yard season among them. Arian Foster, signed as an undrafted free agent that year, is one of the top running backs in the NFL.

In 2004, a year in which eventual busts Chris Perry and Kevin Jones were selected in the first round, the Steelers signed Willie Parker as an undrafted free agent. Parker ranks third on the team's all-time rushing list (5,378 yards) and holds the record for the longest run (75 yards) in Super Bowl history.

Teams can make running back a priority and still find good to great ones after the first round.

The Ravens' Ray Rice, Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy were second-round picks.

"There's so many good backs you can get later than in the first (round)," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "Why not go down a little bit further and get somebody worth two backs for the price of one?"

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert doesn't buy into that argument.

"Why would you lock yourselves in to not taking a great player because you think you could get a similar player down the road?" Colbert said. "I think that's where you make a mistake."

The position, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said, is among those the Steelers can't overlook during the three-day draft.

Mendenhall, a first-round pick in 2008, is recovering from a torn ACL, and the Steelers don't know when he will be ready to play. Isaac Redman is on rise, but the other running backs on the roster have a combined 25 carries.

The Steelers hosted Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead and Oregon's LaMichael James for predraft visits, and Tomlin has said the team will add at least one running back through the draft or free agency. A robust running game is significant to Tomlin because of its impact on both sides of the ball.

"It allows your defense to sit on the sideline, and a lot of great defenses spend a lot of time watching," Tomlin said. "It helps your play-action pass game. I think it feeds a lot of beasts."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

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tony hipchest
04-21-2012, 07:38 PM
By Scott Brown

Just don't expect it to happen Thursday night.

no shit, sherlock.


04-21-2012, 08:59 PM
"Why would you lock yourselves in to not taking a great player because you think you could get a similar player down the road?" Colbert said. "I think that's where you make a mistake."

this coming from the guy that has tried to build an oline with mid an late draft picks for a decade....:doh:

04-21-2012, 11:30 PM
Colbert is a great drafter but he has not took the approach to the O line as he should have. A NFL quality starter is a needle in a hay stack after the 2nd round. A starting guard needs to be drafted in 1 or 2 this year, preferrably 2.

04-22-2012, 09:48 AM
You would think Colbert would have learned a lesson about drafting a running back in the first round when we could have had Ray Rice or Matt Forte in the 2nd that year. A running back drafted in the first should be Emmitt Smith.

Draft a back in this year's draft and see what we have without Mendenhall. It we do well we know the team can swallow it's pride and let Mendenhall walk.

I wouldn't mind
Isaiah Pead
Robert Turbin
Ronnie Hillman
or Cyrus Gray in the 3rd or 4th round.

04-24-2012, 07:42 PM
We can get a respectable, 15 carry-a-game RB after the 2nd round. IMO, we MUST get an OLineman in rounds 1-2. I think we "aim" for Hightower, then the best fat-boy up front.

Looking at the past 5 years, at later round RBs:

3rd round: Jamaal Charles, Shonn Greene, Steve Slaton
4th round: Michael Bush, Roy Helu, Tashard Choice, MIke Goodson, LeRon McClain
5th round: Tim Hightower
6th round: James Stark, Evan Royster, Bernard Scott
7th round: Peyton Hillis, Ahmad Bradshaw

Not all homeruns, but most are roster-worthy - ahead of Dwyer, Moore, and a (less than 100%) Batch. I think we take a couple, especially at least one 7th rounder.

Hawaii 5-0
04-24-2012, 07:47 PM
I wouldn't mind
Isaiah Pead
Robert Turbin
Ronnie Hillman
or Cyrus Gray in the 3rd or 4th round.

nice list! :thmbup:

I have read the Steelers have shown particular interest in Isaiah Pead and Robert Turbin

Fire Arians
04-24-2012, 09:45 PM
running backs are a dime a dozen these days, we will probably look to draft one in rd. 3-5. im hoping we can also get a decent fullback with one of our 7 picks. nothing fancy, someone like kreider would be perfect

though i really wanna see if baron batch can rebound from his injury and live up to the hype he created early in last year's training camp.

04-26-2012, 01:31 AM
I like Pead at Cincinnati and Miller from the U.

The kid at Washington Polk is an inside runner who was very productive. Projected to be a 3rd or 4th rounder.