With the 2015 NFL Draft and rookie minicamp now in the rearview mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers 90-man offseason roster is getting pretty close to set, although there are always some late movements to balance out positional numbers or replace injured or underperforming players.
Now that the rookie class in in-house and the tryout players have either come and gone or stuck around, it’s time to take one last look at the Steelers’ roster as we head into the meat of the offseason. Next up will be the running back position.
Le’Veon Bell: The only question about Bell’s game entering his third season is a matter of numbers. That is, how many games he will be forced to miss to start the regular season. He is scheduled to serve a three-game suspension, but has appealed the ruling, and the hope is that it gets reduced to two at least.
When he is on the field, Bell gives the Steelers a dimension that they never had before at running back, sharing an excellent rapport with his quarterback. He could be the next back to top 1000 yards both on the ground and in the air in one season—although it probably won’t be this year due to the suspension.
DeAngelo Williams: The veteran Williams was signed in large part to bridge the gap from the start of the season to Bell’s return, however many games that ends up being. He may be nearing the end of his career and is coming off an injury-plagued season, but there is belief that he can be a strong contributor behind the Steelers’ line.
Dri Archer: Entering his second season, Archer is facing no shortage of pressure after his rookie season proved to be a tremendous disappointment. He struggled to even get on the field, and when he did, he often disappointed. He should have plenty of opportunities to start the year with Bell out to carve out a role for himself. But his primary role should end up being as a returner.
Josh Harris: The Steelers are looking, at the least, to round out their running back stable for the duration of Bell’s suspension, and Harris figures to be the leader in the clubhouse at the moment, having gained experience last season after being promoted from the practice squad. He received the most carries during the team’s playoff loss last year.
Ross Sheuerman: Pittsburgh failed to address the running back position during the draft, but they signed Sheuerman as a free agent after the draft. He’s facing questions about the talent level that he played against, and is not really a typical running back, but given the lack of competition, he may find a role, even if on the practice squad.
Cameron Stingily: Stingily was one of three running backs invited to the team’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, and the coaching staff liked what they saw from him enough to give him a contract. Stingily is a big back, but may lack the speed to play at this level.
Notes: As noted above, the Steelers invited three running backs on a tryout basis to their rookie minicamp, signing Stingily from that group. With only six running backs currently on the roster, it’s likely that another one or two will be added later in the offseason, as they customarily carry more on their offseason roster.