The Pittsburgh Steelers have recently concluded their offseason schedule, complete with nine OTA practices and the three-day minicamp, and are currently off for about five weeks before they re-emerge in Latrobe for the start of training camp.
Not much is expected to happen between now and then as far as new goes regarding the team. Ideally, the players will simply be focused on getting in the best possible shape heading for the long haul that begins with training camp and concludes, hopefully, with a deep postseason run.
That means that the roster heading into camp should just about be set, so now during the dead time it’s worth taking a dip back into the positional depth charts to see where we stand following the offseason reports, continuing with the running backs.
Le’Veon Bell: We all found out what Bell was capable of being last season when he displayed an elite-level performance through the majority of his second season. Although the ground game had a mid-season and then late-season slump, it’s worth noting that Bell’s greatest success in the end zone came at the end of the year.
In year three, he will be starting off from the sidelines, and the Steelers will have to figure out how to compensate for his absence after he established himself as such an integral part of the offense’s identity after accumulating well over 350 touches.
DeAngelo Williams: The veteran back Williams was brought in primarily for that purpose, as the team explicitly acknowledged that an element in the decision to sign him was their belief that he would be able to get them through Bell’s suspension that begins at the start of the year.
Williams has played many different roles in his long career, including being “the guy”, part of a pair, and the backup. In Pittsburgh, he will be the backup, and he certainly seems to have the demeanor for it, despite maintaining the confidence of a starter.
Dri Archer: In spite of his frustrating rookie season, it’s unlikely that we see Archer headed out after the Steelers used a third-round pick on him. Possible, but unlikely. His ultimate fate may be determined by his success or failure on special teams.
It will be interesting to monitor his usage during the first three games during Bell’s suspension, and whether or not he is able to earn more snaps for himself later on in the year with a strong showing.
Josh Harris: The second-year former undrafted free agent finished off his rookie season by leading the Steelers in touches among the running backs in their playoff loss. He seems to have decent size and speed. He figures to be the frontrunner for the third running back during Bell’s suspension, but whether or not they keep four when he returns could be up to that fourth guy’s performance.
Cameron Stingily: One of two successful rookie minicamp tryout players, Stingily is a big, powerful, but lumbering back. While he did get a bit of mention off and on during the spring, the running game evaluations without pads are generally pretty uninformative.
Ross Scheuerman: Signed as an undrafted free agent, Scheuerman is not the most traditional of running backs. He is a bit light for his size, but he seems to have good hands, which the Steelers like in their running backs. He has a chance, but that’s all that can reasonably be said for now.