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 the Steelers look to add more depth at running back heading into OTAs next week?
The post-draft has not been kind to the Steelers’ running backs toward the bottom of the depth chart. Days after the draft ended, they released both Brandon Brown-Dukes and Gus Johnson, the former of whom spent time on the practice squad last season. 10 days later, they also released Dreamius Smith, which means that, since the start of the offseason, they are in the negative when it comes to running backs.
While they signed Knile Davis and drafted James Conner, and added Rushel Shell as an undrafted free agent, they also failed to re-sign DeAngelo Williams. Le’Veon Bell and Fitzgerald Toussaint remain from last season. Davis and Conner are the likely competition for the 53-man roster, but the Steelers will need more than that to get through the offseason.
Other than Bell, Conner, Davis, Toussaint, and Shell, there is 5’7”, 200-pound Trey Williams. That is just six running backs on a 90-man roster. It would seem likely to me that they are going to want to add another running back or two at some point, perhaps as soon as prior to the start of OTAs, because that number of running backs is not going to be sufficient to get through training camp and the preseason, especially with Bell likely a highly limited participant through the summer.
This is not exactly something that is going to make or break the team and is really more of a housekeeping and practical matter, but the Steelers have parted with three running backs since the draft, and it seems pretty reasonable that they would have a mind toward adding at least one to their current number.