The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Given the state of the running back room, Trey Edmunds will be called upon to serve as a lead blocker at times.
Explanation: Edmunds’ physicality, which lends itself well to his special teams duties, is a feature that the Steelers were attracted to. With Roosevelt Nix having relatively recently been placed on the Reserve/Injured List, they obviously lack a fullback. They didn’t offer any viable alternatives when he previously missed games this year.
This might sound like I’m pulling something out of my ass, but here’s the deal: the Steelers list him at fullback on their depth chart on the team’s website now. Not just at running back and also fullback, but rather, just fullback.
Given the relative recency of Nix’s having been placed on the Reserve/Injured List, on a short week, it’s reasonable to believe the Steelers used this extra time to work Edmunds into the fullback role. As mentioned, he has the physicality. He claims to be the hardest hitter among his brothers—a safety and a linebacker.
Heading into the game, they are getting Benny Snell back, who is more of a power runner. Jaylen Samuels offers pass-catching ability, while new face Kerrith Whyte offers speed. With the number of faces here, and Edmunds a fixture on special teams, it makes sense to find him another job he can do.
The Steelers didn’t even use Nix a lot last year, and when they did, the running game wasn’t necessarily effective. He’s been unavailable most of this year, and they’ve largely gone without the lead blocker out of the backfield.
Expect that to continue to be the approach, and as in the past, in the rare instances in which they want a lead blocker out of the backfield, they will get a bigger body out there like Vance McDonald or, as they literally have done, Tyson Alualu or B.J. Finney.
Edmunds is not going to be used at fullback because the Steelers don’t become better by having him and another running back on the field at the same time. Quite simply.