Pittsburgh used a lot of the pre-draft visits to meet with running backs. There was a need to add to the backfield to provide depth and add competition for the number two spot and this fills that gap.
When it comes to day three of the draft it becomes less about finding starters and more about finding players to fill in the depth on the roster.
Snell was a highly productive player for the Kentucky Wildcats and as we’ve covered here that is something the Steelers covet from their backs and they get another player with NFL bloodines. His great uncle Matt Snell played RB for the New York Jets. Snell finished his collegiate career with 3,873 yards rushing and 48 touchdowns in 3 years.
Lance Zierlein from NFL.com had Snell listed as a mid-day 3 pick and had this to say, “Downhill grinder with an ability to create for himself with his vision and power, but lacking desired level of elusiveness and burst as an NFL runner. Snell is a touchdown hog whose scores were often earned and rarely given. Teams will like his toughness, size and instincts, but he must improve has blitz pickup to counter his athletic limitations. He needs to find the right fit to become an average RB2/RB3.”
Nick Farabaugh had Snell as number 217 in his Top 300 and said, “Snell is your old-fashioned grind’em out power back. His feet are slow and he doesn’t show much in terms of long speed or overall athleticism, but the man will not go down and he can run you right on over. His hands are probably far better than they are advertised, but he has not shown that he will be a high level contributor there at the next level.”
And in my own analysis I had Snell as a mid-day 3 pick and summarized him like this:
“he is a tough physical runner with good contact balance able to break tackles and work in Gap or Inside Zone running schemes. He lacks elusiveness to make people miss, doesn’t have an extra gear and probably will struggle to run outside at the next level. As a receiver, his hands are good and can adjust to the ball well. I’d like to see him given an opportunity to do more there but I wouldn’t expect any huge increase. I think he’ll be a solid pro running back should be able to make any backfield stronger and could be very useful in the 4 minute offense and short yardage situations initially with a chance a being a starter down the road.”
The interest in Snell was there before the draft evidenced by the Steelers sending running back coach Eddie Faulkner to the Kentucky pro day.
As I mentioned earlier when it comes to day 3 in the NFL draft you’re looking for fit. Players who you feel can excel within what you do. The Steelers like the bigger back and they get one here.
Overall: From the notes above this would be a slight reach based on where he was predicted. After filling the bigger needs on the first two days the Steelers have more flexibility to draft not what they need but who they want. Although it may be a slight reach, the value is good adding another solid back to the running back room joining James Connor and Jaylen Samuels.