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Galax Steeler
04-07-2013, 06:57 AM
The Steelers' draft-day need for a reliable, consistent and hard-to-tackle running back might be greater than at any time in the past 20 years, yet the nation's very first NFL draftnik thinks the worst thing they could do would be to target a runner on the first day of the draft April 25.

To Mel Kiper Jr., who launched a cottage industry in the late 1970s with his NFL Draft analysis handbook and, later, his ESPN on-air work, the Steelers shouldn't rush to acquire a running back even as they come off their second-worst rushing season in 40 years.

“I'd say every year — I've been saying it for 35 years — you can find running backs at any point in the draft,” Kiper said. “I would never draft a running back in the first round. … It's one position where you can be just as good as a rookie as you'll ever be at any point down the road in your career, even if you come out as a junior.”

To validate his philosophy, Kiper reeled off the names of a half-dozen current NFL backs who were low-round or no-round draft choices, including Alfred Morris, a sixth-round Redskins pick who ran for 1,613 yards as a rookie last season.

Kiper believes there are a number of backs who will be available in the lower rounds who could reinvigorate the Steelers' running game, mentioning Christine Michael, the Texas A&M runner who visited the Steelers last week; Kerwynn Williams of Utah State; Mike James of Miami (Fla.); Cierre Wood of Notre Dame and George Winn of Cincinnati.

“I think there's a ton of backs that you could say could fall into that category of being that sixth-round steal,” he said.

The Steelers generally follow the same path espoused by Kiper; the only running back they've drafted in the first round since 1989 was Rashard Mendenhall in 2008. He wasn't exactly a bust despite his poor final season for them; he was twice a 1,000-yard back and helped run them into the Super Bowl during the 2010 season.

The Steelers twice successfully reinvented themselves by picking up a running back on the first day of the day: in 1972 by drafting Franco Harris and in 1996 by trading for Jerome Bettis. Not coincidentally, Harris and Bettis are the Nos. 1 and 2 rushers, respectively, in franchise history.

And when they've relied upon the strategy of picking up a serviceable running back in a later round, it hasn't worked well. Many of the 17 running backs (including fullbacks) the Steelers drafted from 1992 (the start of the Bill Cowher era) to 2012 were washouts, and every one was acquired from the third round on.

Those 17 backs totaled 6,007 yards rushing — an average of 353 yards per season. The most prolific was Amos Zereoue, a third-rounder in 1999 who rushed for 1,698 yards in five seasons, even if it can be argued that Bettis would have picked up most of those yards or even more had he been left on the field.

The only runner who came in and made anything resembling an impact was Bam Morris, a third-rounder in 1994 who started 10 games and ran for 1,395 yards in two seasons before running into off-field issues. None of the other 17 ran for even 800 yards during his Steelers career, although Jonathan Dwyer (774 yards in three seasons) could soon achieve that.

Seven of the 17 never carried the ball a single time for the Steelers — remember Frank “The Tank” Sanders? Carlos King? Cedric Humes?

Willie Parker was the steal of a lifetime, but he wasn't drafted at all. The Steelers signed him in 2004 as a non-drafted free agent, and he went on to rush for 5,378 yards in six seasons.

So while the recent track record of NFL teams shows there are plenty of yards waiting to be drafted outside of the first round, the Steelers might want to remember that sometimes there's safety in numbers.

Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3763252-74/steelers-running-yards#ixzz2PmI3m9BM
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pczach
04-07-2013, 07:12 AM
He's right of course, but everybody wants the next Adrian Peterson. I agree that we should not even consider a running back until the 3rd round. There are tons of great runners, and frankly, it's our offensive line that will determine how effective their running game is. There are only a few backs ever to still gain big yards behind a crappy line. They don't grow on trees, and only come around once in a while.

The many needs this team has at multiple positions makes it hard to justify an early pick at running back.

Fire Haley
04-07-2013, 07:17 AM
Ben's ribs will be crushed again if we don't get a legitimate starting LT.....start there.

austinfrench76
04-07-2013, 12:15 PM
I agree that RB doesn't need to be a 1st day focus but man we've been bad at finding them lately. Batch, Redman, Dwyer have all been ok, Batch being hurt didn't help, but nothing even remotely "Willie Parker"-esque. Would love to see Lacey but not in round 1. Ball might fit as well in the 3rd? Should be an interesting draft regardless.

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 12:30 PM
Sorry but Kiper needs to look at the Steelers RB by committee approach, no RB on the roster has been willing to secure that go to rusher, especially late in the game. Pressure at some point needs to be taken off Ben to win the game, the defense surely would welcome a strong running game to boot.

SteelersCanada
04-07-2013, 12:34 PM
Gilbert is our LT. Playing him at RT was a move made out of necessity - we didn't have anyone else to play RT. Now, we have Mike Adams who showed what kind of Tackle he can be (holy shit can this kid run block). Gilbert and Adams are going to anchor our Tackle positions and I'm over the moon about it.

Steel_Bus_24
04-07-2013, 12:44 PM
well duh....who takes RBs anymore on the 1st day

If we come away with Bell or Knile Davis I'll be an extremely happy camper....While this draft isn't full of superstars at the top, there is some great depth at WR and RB

casteeler
04-07-2013, 01:53 PM
The Steelers were 24th in rushing last year, a RB should be priority #1. When the Steelers lean too heavily on Ben to carry the offense he winds up trying to do too much and gets injured. They need the best RB in the draft to help this team become balanced again,drafting a 3rd or 4th round guy seems like putting a major issue on the back burner

harrison'samonster
04-07-2013, 02:00 PM
The Steelers were 24th in rushing last year, a RB should be priority #1. When the Steelers lean too heavily on Ben to carry the offense he winds up trying to do too much and gets injured. They need the best RB in the draft to help this team become balanced again,drafting a 3rd or 4th round guy seems like putting a major issue on the back burner

while I agree with you on the importance of getting a RB, if they can get the right one in later rounds then that's fine with me. Between that and having the O-line play consistently from game to game will boost this offense.

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 02:08 PM
The Steelers need to get back to Steeler football which is controlling the ball, the best way to do that is to run the ball. Not since Bettis have the Steelers had a "ground and pound" back that opponents had to gameplan for. Parker was a good compliment to Bettis, since when has a Steeler opponent had to gameplan for the Steeler running game. Most offenses have to plan for the Steeler defense, most defenses have to plan to slow Big Ben down, however the running game hasn't been a concern for a couple years. Don't get me wrong there are some real steals in this year's draft in the latter rounds, but why not make a statement early with a solid RB for the future.

harrison'samonster
04-07-2013, 02:11 PM
it would be great to take pressure off Ben, especially now that he's getting older.

WVABE
04-07-2013, 02:27 PM
With our current O-line and Spaeth at TE, Refridgerator Perry should be able to walk thru the holes created.

Its time to take the pacifiers out of their mouths and let em play football.

BlaZeQuietly
04-07-2013, 02:43 PM
The Steelers were 24th in rushing last year, a RB should be priority #1. When the Steelers lean too heavily on Ben to carry the offense he winds up trying to do too much and gets injured. They need the best RB in the draft to help this team become balanced again,drafting a 3rd or 4th round guy seems like putting a major issue on the back burner

like this guy and many others said I AGREE, I think we should take a rusher early, maybe 1st or 2nd round, lets get the BEST RUSHER WE CAN GET AND TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF BEN, for god's sake please take some pressure off Ben and get us a feature back that we can rely on for the next 5 years, that would be AWESOME, yes LT is important to we need to protect Ben as well, But to say we can wait until the 6th or 7th round to draft our running back is nuts

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 02:45 PM
With our current O-line and Spaeth at TE, Refridgerator Perry should be able to walk thru the holes created.

Its time to take the pacifiers out of their mouths and let em play football.

:confused:

FrancoLambert
04-07-2013, 04:49 PM
.......especially if Ahmad Bradshaw is fully recovered and we sign him.

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 04:54 PM
.......especially if Ahmad Bradshaw is fully recovered and we sign him.

Now that would be something, really don't see Bradshaw coming to the "Burgh".

WokeUpWithaWoodley
04-07-2013, 05:25 PM
There are a lot of middle rounds back this year that cou be really good. The tricky part is finding that right one out of the bunch.

BlaZeQuietly
04-07-2013, 05:58 PM
Now that would be something, really don't see Bradshaw coming to the "Burgh".

Why not? As we already know we are going to check back in with him in a couple weeks. If we weren't interested in him we wouldn't be checking back with him, my guess is that if he is healing well from his surgery that we will sign him. I have mixed feeling about it, on one hand we know we are getting a good running back that is capable of being a 1000+ yard rusher in the NFL and on the other hand, he is just what we don't need more of, injury prone players. I know theres no way to predict and injury but some people are just more prone to injury than others, those people inlude people with lots of pre existing injuries that could be r- aggravated, like bradshaw and the screw in his foot for example, overall though I think he would be worth the risk at the right price, can't wait till we meet up with him again, I have a feeling if we sign him the fans would instantly fall in love.:applaudit:

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 06:27 PM
Why not? As we already know we are going to check back in with him in a couple weeks. If we weren't interested in him we wouldn't be checking back with him, my guess is that if he is healing well from his surgery that we will sign him. I have mixed feeling about it, on one hand we know we are getting a good running back that is capable of being a 1000+ yard rusher in the NFL and on the other hand, he is just what we don't need more of, injury prone players. I know theres no way to predict and injury but some people are just more prone to injury than others, those people inlude people with lots of pre existing injuries that could be r- aggravated, like bradshaw and the screw in his foot for example, overall though I think he would be worth the risk at the right price, can't wait till we meet up with him again, I have a feeling if we sign him the fans would instantly fall in love.:applaudit:

Maybe you have some very good insider information but the last I read the Steelers passed on him, true they might bring him back, but it isn't looking that way. The draft is right around the corner and it appears they are willing to wait until the draft.

casteeler
04-07-2013, 06:29 PM
There are a lot of middle rounds back this year that cou be really good. The tricky part is finding that right one out of the bunch.

Agreed there are a few middle round backs that COULD be good. This is a position the Steelers cannot gamble on at the point,the Steelers are on the cusp of being a contender .Immediate impact players are needed and drafting a top back isn't just necessary,it will be the differance between being a playoff team and another mediocre season

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 06:45 PM
Agreed there are a few middle round backs that COULD be good. This is a position the Steelers cannot gamble on at the point,the Steelers are on the cusp of being a contender .Immediate impact players are needed and drafting a top back isn't just necessary,it will be the differance between being a playoff team and another mediocre season

I agree it is time to draft a big time RB to push this team back into being a contender, a back that makes this team more than one dimensional.

pczach
04-07-2013, 07:19 PM
In all honesty, it's been our offensive line that has made us one dimensional. Solve the offensive line problems, and this offense will produce big time. I'm serious. If the Steelers have a big time lineman fall to them in the first round, they almost have to take him. A dominant offensive line will transform this team, and make average backs look great.

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 07:33 PM
In all honesty, it's been our offensive line that has made us one dimensional. Solve the offensive line problems, and this offense will produce big time. I'm serious. If the Steelers have a big time lineman fall to them in the first round, they almost have to take him. A dominant offensive line will transform this team, and make average backs look great.

They took a big time lineman last year, however he got hurt but the line needs to have confidence in the back they are blocking for, someone who is going to put their head down, not afraid to take a hit and make the tough yards, not someone who looks for a hole and when one isn't there run up the backs of their offensive lineman. Truth of the matter is, time for a big time RB!

pczach
04-07-2013, 07:53 PM
They took a big time lineman last year, however he got hurt but the line needs to have confidence in the back they are blocking for, someone who is going to put their head down, not afraid to take a hit and make the tough yards, not someone who looks for a hole and when one isn't there run up the backs of their offensive lineman. Truth of the matter is, time for a big time RB!

The line doesn't need confidence in the RB behind them. They need to be better so that whoever is behind them can gain yards. We drafted a big time lineman last year, but lost our starting left tackle. Who, by the way, has been our second best lineman behind Pouncey the last few years. I would love to have a big time RB, but running backs aren't taken early in the draft unless they are off the charts good. There is not back that fits that description this year. There are many good backs that could be had in the first 4 or 5 rounds of this draft. Some of them may turn into studs, but none of them are a can't miss, once in a decade type of runner. If you draft one in the 1st round, you are reaching and drafting a player that could be had later in the draft and not getting value for your pick.

Goldsteel86
04-07-2013, 08:37 PM
The line doesn't need confidence in the RB behind them. They need to be better so that whoever is behind them can gain yards. We drafted a big time lineman last year, but lost our starting left tackle. Who, by the way, has been our second best lineman behind Pouncey the last few years. I would love to have a big time RB, but running backs aren't taken early in the draft unless they are off the charts good. There is not back that fits that description this year. There are many good backs that could be had in the first 4 or 5 rounds of this draft. Some of them may turn into studs, but none of them are a can't miss, once in a decade type of runner. If you draft one in the 1st round, you are reaching and drafting a player that could be had later in the draft and not getting value for your pick.

I disagree, the line has to have confidence in the guy running the ball, no confidence, no yards period! OL will always be a nemisis for alot of teams, but just as you say RB's can be had in later rounds, so can offensive linemen and as a matter of fact alot of the good ones came from the latter rounds. I still feel the need to draft an OLB, WR or DB at #17 is the way to go, please not OL again.

cbrunn
04-07-2013, 09:16 PM
Here are 3 RBs that can be had probably as UDFA

Chris Thompson , FSU ... If he's healthy , Smaller back but has talent and probably would of been draftable is he didn't tear his ACL

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Latavius Murray , UCF ... The guy is 6'3 220lbs and Ran in the 4.3s at his pro day

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Cameron Marshall , ASU ... Another big guy with good speed

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pczach
04-08-2013, 05:15 AM
I disagree, the line has to have confidence in the guy running the ball, no confidence, no yards period! OL will always be a nemisis for alot of teams, but just as you say RB's can be had in later rounds, so can offensive linemen and as a matter of fact alot of the good ones came from the latter rounds. I still feel the need to draft an OLB, WR or DB at #17 is the way to go, please not OL again.

I'm not saying that I would draft a lineman no mater what. I'm saying that if a guy like Cooper from NC or the tackle from Oklahoma falls all the way to #17, it will be hard for the Steelers not to take him. That said, my dream scenario would be for the Steelers to trade down with the first pick, and be able to address several needs out of the top 50 players in the draft. I wish we could see the team's draft board ratings of players. We would know exactly who they will take!