2020 Offseason Questions: Should Steelers Use A High Draft Pick On RB?

Steelers NFL Draft logos

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.

The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.

How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will or should the Steelers be interested in drafting a running back high?

Whether or not the Steelers should be interested in using a high draft pick on the running back position—indeed, the very nature of the running back position itself—appears to be one of the more polarizing topics these days, one that resurfaced yesterday with a local beat writer mocking a running back to the team with their top draft choice.

On the current roster are five running backs who performed at some level during the 2019 season, and on the top of the list is James Conner, who was a Pro Bowler during the 2018 season. While he got off to a somewhat sluggish start last season, there were times—in between injuries—during which he clearly looked like he was still the best player on the field for either team.

Yet not only does he have serious questions pertaining to his durability, he is also in the final year of his contract. Third-year Jaylen Samuels posted extremely poor efficiency numbers last season in limited work, despite a relatively high volume of catches.

Benny Snell showed some promise, but how high is his ceiling? And what can Kerrith Whyte contribute outside of the occasional play here and there? Unfortunately, these are not questions that the Steelers can answer prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, at which point they will obviously have to know if they should be addressing the position.

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