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ebsteelers
02-20-2013, 02:45 PM
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/65636/steelers-draft-priority-find-a-starting-rb
The Pittsburgh Steelers would like to draft an outside linebacker, especially given the price tag of James Harrison, who's 34. They would do well to add a safety, considering the age of their starters.

There's no such flexibility when it comes to running back. Pittsburgh has to draft someone who can gain the tough yards, break big runs and carry the load in the ground game. Calling running back a draft need is an understatement. Finding a feature back is the priority of the Steelers' draft.

Teams talk about the necessity of having two solid running backs. Right now, the Steelers have just one running back under contract, Baron Batch, who has a healing forearm and a 2-yard average on 25 career carries. General manager Kevin Colbert should get a front-row seat when the running backs take the field for the NFL combine. The Steelers can't go into the 2013 season with championship aspirations if they don't have an answer at running back, and they don't need an anonymous player to point that out.


Going Downhill
Pittsburgh's running game declined in 2012, producing the franchise's fifth-worst rushing season in the past 50 years:

Year Rush yards per game (rank) Yards per carry (rank)
2008 105.6 (23rd) 3.7 (29th)
2009 112.1 (19th) 4.2 (16th)
2010 120.3 (11th) 4.1 (18th)
2011 118.9 (14th) 4.4 (11th)
2012 96.1 (26th) 3.7 (28th)
The challenge for the Steelers is choosing a top runner in a running back class that lacks top-tier prospects. It's not an ideal situation, but it's not as if Pittsburgh has another option.

It's time to move on from Rashard Mendenhall, an unrestricted free agent who is expected to get a better offer elsewhere. It's time to acknowledge that restricted free agents Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are complementary backs, not starting-caliber ones. It's time to add fresh legs to a Steelers' running attack that has been losing ground the past couple of years.

The Steelers rushed for 1,537 yards in 2012, their fewest in a season since 2003 (1,488). They failed to make the playoffs both seasons, which isn't a coincidence.

"I can say collectively that group wasn't as good as we anticipated," Colbert said after the season. "Where we were in the running game last year was indicative of the talent at the position.”

That was a Bernard Pollard-type shot from Colbert. The message is that the Steelers have to upgrade the running back position, not stick with the status quo.

Even if the salary cap-strapped Steelers had the space, they shouldn't go after free agents like Steven Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw or Reggie Bush. It's proven that you want to avoid backs who have more than five years of wear and tear. A big back like Shonn Greene is intriguing, but he is probably too pricey for Pittsburgh's cap situation.

The Steelers also shouldn't consider Mendenhall, even though it's tempting to re-sign him because of his age (25) and previous success. Mendenhall hasn't been the same runner the past two seasons. He's been using so many stutter steps and spin moves approaching the line of scrimmage that he seems to be auditioning to become the next Steeler on "Dancing With The Stars." He also has had issues with fumbling (11 in 1,006 career touches) and with leaving the stadium after being told he wasn't going to play (which led to a one-game suspension).

The easiest -- and cheapest -- way to improve the position is through the draft. The difficulty is finding the right runner. Ask a draft expert to name the top running back in this year's draft and you might get five different answers.

Alabama's Ed Lacy, who has been projected to go in the first round by Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, will reportedly not participate in workouts at this week's NFL scouting combine because of a hamstring injury. Wisconsin's Montee Ball led the nation with 1,923 rushing yards last season, but there are concerns that he was overworked in college. North Carolina's Giovani Bernard lacks ideal size, although he can produce big plays in the run and pass game. Michigan State's Le'veon Bell is a bruising back who doesn't have great vision. South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore is the most talented back, but he suffered major injuries to both knees in consecutive seasons.


2013 NFL Draft
Rd. 1: April 25, 8 p.m. ET
Rd. 2-3: April 26, 7 p.m. ET
Rd. 4-7: April 27, noon ET
Radio City Music Hall
New York City
Draft order | Draft home

• Mel Kiper's latest mock
• Todd McShay's latest mock
• Mel Kiper's Big Board
• Todd McShay's Top 32
The Steelers historically don't take running backs early in the draft. Since 2000, only one running back (Mendenhall) has been selected in the first four rounds by Pittsburgh. Recent NFL history shows the Steelers don't have to reach for a running back in the first round this year. Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris and DeMarco Murray were all selected No. 53 (second round) or later in the past five drafts.

Some will argue that the Steelers don't need a featured back. This is a passing league, and the offense will still be centered on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But running the ball is an indicator of success. Of the top 12 rushers in 2012, eight came from playoff teams. The Steelers have to get defenses to respect their running game so pass-rushers aren't teeing off on Roethlisberger.

"I can't say that I have the answers, but I think, again, everybody in this building agrees that that's a place we've got to get better at, and we've got to figure out what we need to do to get better," team president Art Rooney II said after the season. "It's something that I think, for the Pittsburgh Steelers to be successful, that's got to be one of the foundations and we've got to figure that out."

A few years ago, Rooney mandated that the Steelers run the ball more consistently and efficiently. They thought they could fix the running game by changing offensive coordinators. Now, it's time to make a change at running back, and the Steelers need to do so through the draft.

ebsteelers
02-20-2013, 02:47 PM
could take this article with a grain of salt if you like.
the writer is rat birds fan but makes interest points as well.


lattimore in round 3 would be ideal,

what about bernard in round 2?


feel like we have more needs then a running back.

ideally i'd like to see


a pass rusher round 1,
safety round 2,
round 3 running back
round 4 te
round 5 bpa
round 6 bpa
round 7 bpa

harrison'samonster
02-20-2013, 02:51 PM
fixing the running game is the biggest challenge the offense is facing in my opinion. We'll miss what Wallace can do, but we need a RB big time. I was hoping and still am hoping we get a shot at keeping Mendenhall, but if the Steelers find somebody they like better in the draft, I'm fine with that.

teegre
02-20-2013, 02:53 PM
could take this article with a grain of salt if you like.
the writer is rat birds fan but makes interest points as well.


lattimore in round 3 would be ideal,

what about bernard in round 2?


feel like we have more needs then a running back.

ideally i'd like to see


a pass rusher round 1,
safety round 2,
round 3 running back
round 4 te
round 5 bpa
round 6 bpa
round 7 bpa

I agree with a lot of what you posted: OLB, S, and then a RB. And, Lattimore in R3 is what I'm thinking, too.

BLACK_AND_YELLOW
02-20-2013, 03:01 PM
I agree with a lot of what you posted: OLB, S, and then a RB. And, Lattimore in R3 is what I'm thinking, too.

ILB needs to be addressed since Spence injury seems like he might not be able to play at all next year.

We have so many needs...it's going to be a interesting off-season

pete74
02-20-2013, 05:57 PM
I think a outside linebacker and a safety is a must in round one and two. Depending on who falls will decide who we grab first. A lot of members are talking about another offensive lineman but I think we have much bigger needs

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-20-2013, 06:12 PM
I say we go with what we have and maybe find a vet in free agency that fits in with Redman and Dwyer.

teegre
02-20-2013, 06:21 PM
ILB needs to be addressed since Spence injury seems like he might not be able to play at all next year.

We have so many needs...it's going to be a interesting off-season

R3/R4 would be:
Reddick, who was underwhelming once his teammates went to the NFL.

Alonso, who had one good season in five years (only starting for two years).

Johnson, who is not very good in coverage (but, who a lot of us like).

teegre
02-20-2013, 06:26 PM
I think a outside linebacker and a safety is a must in round one and two. Depending on who falls will decide who we grab first. A lot of members are talking about another offensive lineman but I think we have much bigger needs



I prefer Elam (or Vaccaro), but using the BAP approach, if Warmack is there, he has to be considered.

Galax Steeler
02-20-2013, 06:29 PM
I hope we can find a reliable back in the draft this year that will provide us years of good running. Seems like since the Bus left we have had that big hole to fill at the position.

Steel Peon
02-20-2013, 07:34 PM
While I wouldn't be surprised if we draft a RB, I don't see this position as being that big of an issue, because in my mind Redman and Dwyer are a good enough of a 1-2 punch tandem. Remember, the Colts won the SB in '06 simply using a 1-2 RB combo of Rhodes and Addai, and I see our tandem being slightly better than that, so all we need is Ben to use them as smartly as Peyton used his.

harrison'samonster
02-20-2013, 07:58 PM
While I wouldn't be surprised if we draft a RB, I don't see this position as being that big of an issue, because in my mind Redman and Dwyer are a good enough of a 1-2 punch tandem. Remember, the Colts won the SB in '06 simply using a 1-2 RB combo of Rhodes and Addai, and I see our tandem being slightly better than that, so all we need is Ben to use them as smartly as Peyton used his.

I hope you're right, but I see the RB position as the most important issue on the offensive side of the ball this offseason. Can Dwyer and Redman pull it together? Were they the problem to begin with or was it all the injuries on the O-line?

The Steelers are forced to address the issue one way or another, and I have faith that they will give Ben a chance to run a top notch NFL offense.

PhantomJB93
02-20-2013, 09:52 PM
While I wouldn't be surprised if we draft a RB, I don't see this position as being that big of an issue, because in my mind Redman and Dwyer are a good enough of a 1-2 punch tandem. Remember, the Colts won the SB in '06 simply using a 1-2 RB combo of Rhodes and Addai, and I see our tandem being slightly better than that, so all we need is Ben to use them as smartly as Peyton used his.

Back in '06 Addai was actually good. And our running game is going NOWHERE if we keep this roster. The OLine currently will be worse than last year (Colon was the ONLY reason we had anything resembling a running game at any point this season) and Dwyer/Redman aren't going to get any better, they might have a good game or two but in the end we'll be sitting here next offseason having the same arguments. Only chance is to draft somebody, be it a stud guard (Warmack) to open up running lanes better or a new RB altogether..

TheVet
02-21-2013, 03:32 AM
Finding a starting running back is like #11 on our list of 10 things to do. Completely silly.

We need to build an OL and offensive system that will enable an NFL-caliber back to succeed - among other important priorities. And we already have two NFL-caliber NFL backs without head problems in Dwyer and Redman. RIght, Batch can't hit a hole, and lets not even talk about the multi-level Mendenhall disaster. The real problem is that we have no reliable way to create holes.

Seriously, a completely silly article.

TheVet
02-21-2013, 03:43 AM
I think a outside linebacker and a safety is a must in round one and two. Depending on who falls will decide who we grab first. A lot of members are talking about another offensive lineman but I think we have much bigger needs

I'm one of those who is still worried about the OL. I intend to make a post specifically about this, but we're still only 50% there in terms of starters - and that's without addressing depth.

Steeldude
02-21-2013, 06:21 AM
No reason to pick a RB in the early rounds. Improve the O-line and the running game will improve.

RB is far down on the priority list.

ebsteelers
02-21-2013, 07:57 AM
i agree with improving the o line... but I think we can see a major improvement by simply staying healthy.

gilbert, decastro, adams, pouncey all have missed time.

thats 2 1st round picks, 2 2nd round picks... i mean i cant see using a 5th early round pick in 3 years to improve this old line..
having decastro for a full year hopefully will be like drafting an olinemen this year.


it doesnt hurt to bring in another rb though like a lattimore where he doesnt need to be the go to guy immediately.
a improved o line will make these guys look better. just feel like we gotta get younger on defense first before adding more o linemen


at some people these guys need to stay healthy.. and if we do draft another o line in round 1.

we better not draft another linemen in the first 2 rounds for the next decade

ebsteelers
02-21-2013, 08:08 AM
I agree with a lot of what you posted: OLB, S, and then a RB. And, Lattimore in R3 is what I'm thinking, too.

obviously it comes to down to who is around when we pick
but a draft in some sort of order like that, would go a long way to making us younger and better.
a trade down would always be nice to add more depth and get younger all around



as i stated previously, o line needs to stay healthy as well

Hawaii 5-0
02-25-2013, 11:00 PM
Graham to Steelers: 'Come and Get Me'

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/115/1154969.jpg

Ray Graham on the loose (DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports)

By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.net
Posted Feb 23, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS – Ray Graham used to walk past the Steelers’ practice field, on his way to the Pitt practice field, and he’d sneak a peek – or three.

“Ray, get your nose on your own practice field!” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would holler, and then in all seriousness Tomlin would add: “You’re not on this team!”

Tomlin would turn back to the reporters standing next to him along the Steelers’ sideline and chuckle.

“The guys who keep looking over here, who think they belong over here, those are the guys who do belong,” Tomlin said. “Shady was the same way. One time I walked in the training room and he was in the whirlpool with Willie Parker. I said, ‘Shady, get outta here.’”

LeSean “Shady” McCoy would look good in a Steelers uniform about now.

Hey, so would Dion Lewis.

LaRod Stephens-Howling anyone?

Yes, the Steelers, with three free agents and without a jettisoned Chris Rainey, are in a bind at running back. They could use any of the aforementioned Pitt men.

How about it, Ray?

“It’d be great,” said Graham. “I’ve been there and seen a lot of practices, so I felt like I’ve been a part of it already. I already visioned it.”

Graham was specific with his wording. He didn’t mean EN-vision. His emphasis was more akin to tunnel-vision.

“I’m always talking about vision,” Graham said. “That’s always the thing in the Bible. You’re supposed to have vision, vision that you put into reality. That’s why you dream big, man. I just think that, so, yeah, I believe it.

“I was on his field,” Graham continued. “I practiced on his field. So one day when I’m on his field again it’ll be second nature to me.”

So, Graham remembers Tomlin’s teasing?

“Oh, yeah,” Graham said with a chuckle. “He was always bothering me. Coach Mike, man, he’s a great guy. I get a kick out of Coach Mike. He’s a good dude. He knows how to turn it on. He knows how to motivate you.”

Graham has never been the type to need motivation. The half-brother of Rutgers linebacker prospect Khaseem Graham and son of former Purdue running back Raymond Graham loves the game, says “it’s where I can be free.” He even gives his moves names.

“I name them as I go,” Graham said. “I don’t really have a favorite move; I just like my chances one-on-one. I just think I’m going to get the best of you.”

Graham hopes to follow McCoy, Stephens-Howling and Lewis into the NFL, and succeed, as they are.

Graham, at 5-9, 199, fits right in with the group, size-wise, and statistically he finished ahead of all of them. Graham’s 3,271 rushing yards and 4,943 all-purpose yards both rank second in school history behind Tony Dorsett.

Graham showed up at the NFL Combine about 10 pounds over his playing weight last season, but just above the 197 he was playing at as a junior when he tore his right ACL eight weeks into the season.

He returned last year to rush for 1,042 yards, but a hamstring injury took him out of the Compass Bowl. Graham returned to play in the East-West Shrine Game, but fumbled on his first carry.

“Yeah, that killed me,” he said here Friday. “I felt bad, too, man, but you move on. That’s the only thing.”

Ball security isn’t an issue in scouts’ minds. They watched him closely the last four seasons. They saw him run inside with power, outside with speed, catch (98 receptions for 799 yards), and return kickoffs (38 at 22.1 avg.). They want to see something else this weekend.

“I know a lot of people doubt me,” Graham said. “They don’t know that I’m back yet. But I just want to let everybody know that I’m here to do everything, and I’m healthy, I’m feeling good, and I’m back.”

The Steelers already know plenty about Graham and haven’t talked to him here. He said he was getting an MRI during the bulk of his meeting night.

What about the MRI results?

“The MRI was good. I came in today and they said the knee’s looking good,” said the player who wants to be like Marshall Faulk more than anyone else.

But if McCoy (2nd round), Lewis (5th) and Stephens-Howling (7th) are the gauges, Graham can figure to be drafted anywhere from the third through fifth rounds.

Does he realize the Steelers are looking for a running back?

“Oh, yeah, definitely,” Graham said. “Come and get me.”

http://pit.scout.com/2/1268975.html

SteelersCanada
02-25-2013, 11:36 PM
See, Ray Graham is the kind of kid I want the Steelers to draft. Energetic, fun and a spirited guy who could turn it on for gameday. I'm not a huge UPitt fan so someone might have to fill me in on the kids weaknesses and areas of improvement. At 5'9 200 lbs, he seems kind of small to be an every-down kind of 'Back. If he puts on another 10 lbs., it's a different story.

PhantomJB93
02-26-2013, 12:14 AM
I'm not a Pitt fan but I've seen quite a lot of Graham over the last few years and I like him enough to say, even with his atrocious combine 40 he would be a better option in the later rounds (should we fail to get Lacy or Lattimore) than a lot of the guys available from rounds 3-5.

wwhickok
02-26-2013, 06:45 AM
Im at the point where, if theyre available I would be surprised not to see Dion Jordan or Mingo drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round and if we have our pick, it'll likely be Jordan.

Steeldude
02-26-2013, 07:00 AM
fixing the running game is the biggest challenge the offense is facing in my opinion. We'll miss what Wallace can do, but we need a RB big time. I was hoping and still am hoping we get a shot at keeping Mendenhall, but if the Steelers find somebody they like better in the draft, I'm fine with that.

What is it with people being so high on Mendenhall? He's soft with a fragile ego.

Miss what Wallace can do? I won't miss the drops, poor fundamentals and poor effort.

RB is down on the draft priority list. No O-line means no running. I have yet to see the O-line put together any consistency in the run department.

harrison'samonster
02-26-2013, 08:50 AM
What is it with people being so high on Mendenhall? He's soft with a fragile ego.

Miss what Wallace can do? I won't miss the drops, poor fundamentals and poor effort.

RB is down on the draft priority list. No O-line means no running. I have yet to see the O-line put together any consistency in the run department.

Mendenhall is a talent at the RB position. I'm not sold on Dwyer and Redman. Whatever the Steelers decide to do I'll be happy with, but Mendenhall really wasn't suppose to be on the field this past season.

As for Wallace, he was our #1 reciever. Sure you won't miss his few drops and poor effort, but he also had a lot of talent and the ability to spread the field. I think the team will eventually be better without him, but there will be growing pains.

TheVet
02-26-2013, 11:44 AM
This team needs players with leadership and positive attitudes. On that basis alone, Mendenhall and Wallace both need to go.

In my opinion, both Redman and Dwyer contribute more on the field than Mendenahall anyway - despite much less natural talent. I can't wait to move on without Mendenhall. Watching unfulfilled potential is frustrating.

harrison'samonster
02-26-2013, 12:35 PM
This team needs players with leadership and positive attitudes. On that basis alone, Mendenhall and Wallace both need to go.

In my opinion, both Redman and Dwyer contribute more on the field than Mendenahall anyway - despite much less natural talent. I can't wait to move on without Mendenhall. Watching unfulfilled potential is frustrating.

Redman and Dwyer contributed more this past season, but Mendenhall was coming off the injury.

A few weeks ago before the big media shit storm I was more for keeping these two, but now I tend to agree that we need to move on. Dwyer needs to be better conditioned, especially his heart and lungs. I've never seen a player tap their helmet to come off the field nearly as much as Dwyer.

Again, a lot hinges on the play (read healthy play) of the OL. It is just my opinion that if we head into the season counting on Redman and Dwyer we might be disappointed. I hope to be wrong!

TheVet
02-26-2013, 03:56 PM
I think that Redman does the best job of all our backs when there's little or nothing available, and Dwyer can be really explosive at times. I agree with you about Dwyer's strange conditioning problem, it's very worrisome. We definitely need additional backs from somewhere, because Batch hasn't shown much at all. But I've got no problem with the level of play from either of these two. As you say, we need to have a competent OL (and good offensive schemes). These backs are quite serviceable NFL backs who would do well in any reasonable system. We need to have a healthy system with healthy players.

As for Mendenhall, I just don't see the value - at least not on the kind of teams the Steelers have fielded during his time here. Even in the seasons prior to his injury, Redman regularly outperformed Mendenhall when given the chance. There's really no category where Mendy does best - he doesn't fight for the extra yards, he hesitates and doesn't hit the rare holes, he's lax about ball security, and he often doesn't show up to play. His attitude drags down the team. He looks great running in the open field when nobody's near him, but that's not an area of need, really, for any team.

I can't wait to lose this bust of a #1 pick, unfortunately the lead bust from a completely busted draft season.

FrancoLambert
02-26-2013, 04:44 PM
I'm still with the "let's give Mendenhall one more shot" camp.

He's our best starting RB. He's proven that.
Speed and power. He has it. Dwyer and Redman not both.

All he needs is a good O-line and a brain transplant.

TheVet
02-26-2013, 05:21 PM
I'm still with the "let's give Mendenhall one more shot" camp.

He's our best starting RB. He's proven that.
Speed and power. He has it. Dwyer and Redman not both.

All he needs is a good O-line and a brain transplant.

He hasn't proven that, not in my opinion! Even before the injury, I felt that Redman had demonstrated that he could out-produce Mendy at every opportunity - but #1 picks receive many extra chances.

But it's all rendered moot by his negative attributes in the areas of character, work ethic, and good team-member. This isn't a football team that can carry problem children right now - hopefully Tomlin understands how badly we need to rebuild the locker room.

Justp94
02-26-2013, 11:15 PM
Am I the only one who doesn't think the Steelers will let their former first round pick Mendenhall just test free agency without having contract talks? I know the last 2 years and his character are in question, but I know that those two 1,000+ yard seasons weren't fluke years, especially when our line sucked back then even worse. So I expect the Steelers to bring Mendenhall back for 2-3 years at a moderate price because that's all he's worth.

Bane
02-26-2013, 11:28 PM
He hasn't proven that, not in my opinion! Even before the injury, I felt that Redman had demonstrated that he could out-produce Mendy at every opportunity - but #1 picks receive many extra chances.

But it's all rendered moot by his negative attributes in the areas of character, work ethic, and good team-member. This isn't a football team that can carry problem children right now - hopefully Tomlin understands how badly we need to rebuild the locker room.

Redman can produce in small bursts, but long-term, he and Dwyer have both proven incapable. Neither of them can be the feature back for longer than 3 games at a time, it seems. Every time one got on a hot streak this year, he started to falter and stopped producing almost entirely.

Steeldude
02-27-2013, 02:35 AM
Am I the only one who doesn't think the Steelers will let their former first round pick Mendenhall just test free agency without having contract talks? I know the last 2 years and his character are in question, but I know that those two 1,000+ yard seasons weren't fluke years, especially when our line sucked back then even worse. So I expect the Steelers to bring Mendenhall back for 2-3 years at a moderate price because that's all he's worth.

1000-yard seasons mean nothing in a 16-game schedule. Mendenhall isn't going to sign for less money. I really hope they let him go. I don't want to watch this soft RB on Sunday's any longer.

WokeUpWithaWoodley
02-27-2013, 05:16 AM
1000-yard seasons mean nothing in a 16-game schedule. Mendenhall isn't going to sign for less money. I really hope they let him go. I don't want to watch this soft RB on Sunday's any longer.

No one will offer him a ton of money.

1000 yard season means nothing????? What?:huh:

Steeldude
02-27-2013, 07:27 AM
No one will offer him a ton of money.

1000 yard season means nothing????? What?:huh:

Meaning they are not difficult to achieve in a 16-game schedule. You think averaging 62.5 yards rushing a game is a huge achievement? :huh:

Do you think Mendenhall is going to take less money than his previous contract?

teegre
02-27-2013, 07:32 AM
Meaning they are not difficult to achieve in a 16-game schedule. You think averaging 62.5 yards rushing a game is a huge achievement? :huh:

Do you think Mendenhall is going to take less money than his previous contract?

Not that I'm in favor of resigning Spinny, but: yes & yes.

Last year, I would have taken 1,000 yards from one of the Steelers RBs. So, Yes, I think 1,000 yards is a good season.

Spinny knows that he is coming off of two injuries, that RBs are replaceable, that the RB position is a young man's position (26 is old), and that he sat out a game/looks like a "problem child" (whether he actually is or not). So, Yes, I think his new deal (with whomever) will be quite small.

kan_t
02-27-2013, 07:55 AM
Last year there were 16 RBs having 1000 yards season. In 2011 there were 15.

It's not a huge achievement, but it is a rock solid season for a RB.

IMO the benchmark of a huge season for a RB is 1300 yards in today games. Normally only 5-6 RBs achieve this mark yearly.

Hawaii 5-0
02-27-2013, 10:55 PM
NFL Scouting Combine: Only one running back might be taken in first round

February 27, 2013
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://db66abc2c256b763aaef-ce5d943d4869ae027976e5ad085dd9b0.r76.cf2.rackcdn.c om/2013/57/255/lattimore_420.jpg

Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is aiming to recover from a gruesome knee injury and be one of the top running backs taken in the NFL draft.

INDIANAPOLIS -- While wide receivers were posting blazing times and making coaches double-check their stopwatch, running backs at the NFL Scouting Combine mostly went unnoticed. Big-play backs with speed were not to be found.

And that might end up being a good thing for the Steelers.

One year after three running backs went in the first round and five were among the top 61 picks, the draft this year might only see one running back go in the first round -- Alabama's Eddie Lacy. It's possible only two backs -- Lacy and Wisconsin's Montee Ball -- will be among the top 55.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com had Lacy and Oklahoma State Joseph Randle as the two most complete backs in the draft, but that was before Randle ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash at the combine.

The Steelers likely won't take a running back in the first round, mainly because there aren't many, if any, after Lacy worth taking early. But they should have plenty of options in the middle rounds to draft a running back and help replenish a position where the top three on the depth chart are without a contract.

"I think there's plenty of depth to get a running back in this draft," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said.

History shows running backs can be found anywhere. Houston's Arian Foster, the AFC's leading rusher in 2012, was an undrafted free agent. So was Willie Parker, who had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Steelers.

Washington's Alfred Morris, who finished second in rushing to Adrian Peterson in the NFC this past season, was a sixth-round pick in 2012.

But the Steelers likely won't wait that long to address the position. And there are enough capable backs in the middle rounds who could end up replacing Rashard Mendenhall if the Steelers elect not to re-sign their unrestricted free agent and former No. 1 draft choice.

One of those is former Arkansas running back Knile Davis, who opened eyes at the combine with his combination of size, speed and strength. Davis (6 feet, 227 pounds) was the second-fastest back at the combine, running an official 4.37 in the 40 -- a blazing time for a back that big.

And he was the second-strongest back, too, doing 31 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.

That combination quickly elevated his stock from a middle-round pick to at least a second-round selection, especially after a disappointing 2012 season with the Razorbacks in which he rushed for just 377 yards. Davis did not play in 2011 because of a broken ankle.

Just like that, Davis created some buzz for the running back spot.

"I think the thing that sets me apart is the size, speed, agility combination," Davis said. "I think that is a rare combination that you just don't find every year.

"The guy I really compare myself to would be more of an Arian Foster, an Adrian Peterson. Arian Foster with the zone running. I'm really good at running the zone. And just the size and speed of Adrian Peterson."

If the Steelers are to incorporate more zone schemes in their running game in 2013, they need to find a running back to fit that style.

Davis convinced NFL coaches and general managers he has recovered from his injury. Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is hoping to do the same after a gruesome knee injury ended his 2012 season.

Lattimore (6-0, 218) tore the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee Oct. 27, requiring 2 1/2 hours of surgery. He likely would have been a first-round pick without the injury.

But his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, said Lattimore is three months ahead of schedule and has added 20 pounds of muscle during his rehabilitation.

And Lattimore said he is determined to be ready to play in an NFL season opener in September, inspired by other running backs such as Peterson, Frank Gore and Willis McGahee who returned from similar injuries.

He said the doctors who examined him at the combine "will be shocked" at his recovery, especially after such extensive damage. Nonetheless, teams would be taking a chance on Lattimore because they won't get to see him do any kind of workout until after the draft.

"At this point, it really doesn't matter where I get drafted, because I'm going to go in there and work hard,"

Lattimore said. "I'm going to do what I do. I'm going to do what I've been doing my whole career, and that's just be myself.

"If I get a chance to play this year, I'm going to make the most out of it. And I feel like I will."

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/nfl-scouting-combine-only-one-running-back-might-be-taken-in-first-round-677029/#ixzz2MA9XiYVG

kan_t
02-28-2013, 02:09 AM
I will be very surprise if they pick a RB before 3rd round. This year draft has RB depth but lack of top rounds talents. I think Colbert realizes that.

SteelersCanada
02-28-2013, 09:29 AM
Knile Davis, Stepfan Taylor, Ray Graham and Montee Ball will all be sitting there in the fourth round should we choose to go that way. The Steelers have shown interest in Ball so I think that he's definitely on their radar. I'm also going out on a limb and saying that if the right guy is there, we're drafting two Running Backs. Whatever the hell our RB situation was last year was unacceptable and drafting two RBs shows that it won't be tolerated.

Pack your shit Redman and Dwyer.

wwhickok
02-28-2013, 10:13 AM
I expect Lacy to end up in Green Bay so it wont be him.

Steeldude
02-28-2013, 10:59 AM
Last year, I would have taken 1,000 yards from one of the Steelers RBs. So, Yes, I think 1,000 yards is a good season.



Someone would have reached 1,000 yards if they gave them enough carries. If they gave Dwyer(4 YPC) 16 carries a game he would have eclipsed the 1,000 mark.

WokeUpWithaWoodley
02-28-2013, 02:43 PM
Andre Ellington in the second if Justin hunter/ Hopkins are gone.

TheVet
02-28-2013, 06:41 PM
No reason to draft a running back before the 4th round - and really, that's true almost every year, unless you've got an exceptionally high pick and there's a true star available. In any case, I'm hoping that we address our running back situation - with continued attention to the OL. :tt02:

Hawaii 5-0
02-28-2013, 07:18 PM
NFL Rumors: The Loudest Draft and Free Agency Buzz for Every Team

BY NICK KOSTORA (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON FEBRUARY 28, 2013
Pittsburgh Steelers
USA TODAY Sports

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/003/006/412/hi-res-6940788_display_image.jpg?1361997840

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been hard at work trying to get under the salary cap heading into the 2013 season, and superstar players on the roster are coming to the rescue.

It has been reported that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lawrence Timmons have all taken significant pay cuts in order to help the organization.

With all the work needed to get under the salary cap, the Steelers likely won't have much, if any, money to spend on potential free agents. The only potential in that arena comes from wide receiver Steve Breaston, who will visit with the team Thursday.

This means that the bulk of Pittsburgh's offseason additions will come via the draft.

ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley has speculated that the Steelers will look towards a feature back in the first couple rounds, potentially targeting players like Eddie Lacy from Alabama, Montee Ball from Wisconsin, Le'veon Bell from Michigan State and Marcus Lattimore from South Carolina.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1545521-nfl-rumors-the-loudest-draft-and-free-agency-buzz-for-every-team/page/26

kan_t
02-28-2013, 07:59 PM
Jamison Hensley has no Steelers source (he's former Ravens beat writer). Like what he said, it's just his speculation.

teegre
02-28-2013, 09:27 PM
NFL Rumors: The Loudest Draft and Free Agency Buzz for Every Team

BY NICK KOSTORA (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON FEBRUARY 28, 2013
Pittsburgh Steelers
USA TODAY Sports

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/003/006/412/hi-res-6940788_display_image.jpg?1361997840

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been hard at work trying to get under the salary cap heading into the 2013 season, and superstar players on the roster are coming to the rescue.

It has been reported that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lawrence Timmons have all taken significant pay cuts in order to help the organization.

With all the work needed to get under the salary cap, the Steelers likely won't have much, if any, money to spend on potential free agents. The only potential in that arena comes from wide receiver Steve Breaston, who will visit with the team Thursday.

This means that the bulk of Pittsburgh's offseason additions will come via the draft.

ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley has speculated that the Steelers will look towards a feature back in the first couple rounds, potentially targeting players like Eddie Lacy from Alabama, Montee Ball from Wisconsin, Le'veon Bell from Michigan State and Marcus Lattimore from South Carolina.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1545521-nfl-rumors-the-loudest-draft-and-free-agency-buzz-for-every-team/page/26

Lattimore!!!

teegre
02-28-2013, 09:30 PM
Someone would have reached 1,000 yards if they gave them enough carries. If they gave Dwyer(4 YPC) 16 carries a game he would have eclipsed the 1,000 mark.

16 carries... Dwyer taps out after two carries on a drive.

harrison'samonster
02-28-2013, 09:34 PM
16 carries... Dwyer taps out after two carries on a drive.

that's what I was thinking. I don't know if Dwyer could make it through a season getting 16 carries a game.

teegre
02-28-2013, 09:38 PM
that's what I was thinking. I don't know if Dwyer could make it through a season getting 16 carries a game.

Exactly. He didn't even make it a full season getting 10 carries per game.

I guess that the "Woodley Training Regimen" does not work well for RBs... (or LBs for that matter).

harrison'samonster
02-28-2013, 09:41 PM
Exactly. He didn't even make it a full season getting 10 carries per game.

I guess that the "Woodley Training Regimen" does not work well for RBs... (or LBs for that matter).

Dwyer has said that he's focused on working on his conditioning. If he and Woodley come back in top shape it would really help the team. And themselves for that matter.

teegre
02-28-2013, 09:54 PM
Dwyer has said that he's focused on working on his conditioning. If he and Woodley come back in top shape it would really help the team. And themselves for that matter.

If those two came back in "peak" shape, the Steelers would have a really good, starting-quality RB and an All-Pro OLB. Those two positions alone would make the difference between 8-8 and 11-5.

Sal-ads!!! ...Sal-ads!!! ...Sal-ads!!!

harrison'samonster
02-28-2013, 10:03 PM
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m2u50gyXM01qza49co1_500.png

"All aboard the pain train"

map27steelers
02-28-2013, 11:41 PM
We definitely need a speed back, but a speed rusher, help at safety and corner are also priorities. Let's hope we get a good comp pick when we lose wallace.

TheVet
03-01-2013, 12:24 AM
NFL Rumors: The Loudest Draft and Free Agency Buzz for Every Team

BY NICK KOSTORA (FEATURED COLUMNIST) ON FEBRUARY 28, 2013
Pittsburgh Steelers
USA TODAY Sports

....

It has been reported that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lawrence Timmons have all taken significant pay cuts in order to help the organization.

What are these "significant pay cuts" of which he speaks?
:rofl:

harrison'samonster
03-01-2013, 10:06 PM
We definitely need a speed back, but a speed rusher, help at safety and corner are also priorities. Let's hope we get a good comp pick when we lose wallace.

If the Steelers play it right I think they can address all of those needs very well in this draft. Which is the top priority? Hard to say what the Steelers are thinking at this point.