The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will DeAngelo Williams be the backup to Le’Veon Bell in 2017?
The Steelers seemed to struggle to find the right sort of running back in terms of maturity, skill, and cooperation that would suit as the appropriate complement to the do-everything workhorse running back that Le’Veon Bell has become in his first four seasons.
They did finally seem to hit on all the right ingredients when they dipped their toes into the free agency pool in 2015. They certainly got their $4 million worth out of DeAngelo Williams over that two-year span when you consider the fact that the tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns in 2015 and played well in Bell’s absence this past season.
But he has shown himself to be susceptible to injuries over the course of the past three seasons, including his final year in Carolina, and is now hitting the open market again. The next snap that he will take in the NFL will come at the age of 34. And while he showed some dynamism left in making defensive backs miss in open space as a wide receiver, he looked a big wanting while running the ball against the Patriots.
I’m just not quite sure how much he has left in the tank in spite of the fact that he has been a strong locker-room presence. He is clearly at a stage in his career at which he is willing to accept a greatly reduced role. Would he be willing to accept the third role?
I happen to think that it’s time for the Steelers to draft another running back. They have not taken one in the past three drafts since they drafted Bell. They drafted one in each of the five drafts previous to that, however.
It would be a focal point of discussion if I were to leave out the name of Karlos Williams from the discussion. He showed promise during his rookie season in Buffalo before suspensions and weight issues derailed him in 2016. The Steelers re-signed him to their offseason roster because they want to see what he can do.