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2018 Steelers Pre-Training Camp Roster Review: Running Back

The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2018 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.

We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.

Position: Running Back

Total Positional Figure: 8

Additions: 2

Deletions: 0

Players Retained:

Le’Veon Bell: Not currently on the roster, of course, but you can’t reasonably have a discussion about the Steelers’ running backs without mentioning Le’Veon Bell, who said that he wants to get out to a faster start than he did a season ago. He also said he believes he might see more work in the passing game and less in the running game, though he expects his touches to remain at the same level.

James Conner: Entering his second season, James Conner is looking to establish himself as a viable number two, and perhaps even a future 1A in a rotation should Bell leave in free agency. He had success as a runner a year ago and came in this spring in excellent shape after a knee injury.

Stevan Ridley:  The veteran who was brought in to take Conner’s place after he was injured is still here, but there is no guaranteed roster spot for Stevan Ridley. One would think that the third running back spot on the roster is a rookie’s to lose, whom we will discuss momentarily.

Fitzgerald Toussaint: Toussaint has been kicking around for years now and appears hard to get rid of. He spent much of last year on the practice squad before flipping places with Terrell Watson. This may be the year the cord is finally cut, however.

James Summers: Yet another converted quarterback (Justin Thomas being the other), Summers is tall for the position and has his work cut out for him to make the practice squad.

Roosevelt Nix: The fullback. Period.

Players Added:

Jaylen Samuels: Drafted in the fifth round, Samuels has already impressed his teammates with his ability to make contested catches, but the Steelers will be interested in seeing his overall game later this summer as he looks to lock up his roster spot.

Jarvion Franklin: A rookie college free agent, Franklin is a back of the bigger variety who has some momentum behind him, as well as college teammates around him, including lineman Chuks Okorafor.

Players Lost: N/A

Notes and Camp Outlook: 

Chances are very good that Bell will not be there. That means we should anticipate very long looks for Conner and Samuels in particular, the two young backs the Steelers are hoping can be a stable part of their future for at least the next few years.

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