Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. didn’t make much of an impact during his 2020 season as the Maryland product and fourth-round draft pick only rushed 33 times in total for 113 yards in addition to catching another six passes for 54 yards. While McFarland only played 76 total offensive snaps as a rookie, he was able to learn a lot of valuable things in his first NFL season from the other Steelers running backs and specifically from James Conner.
“The things he teaches me, how to take care of your body so you can perform well,” said McFarland, according to an interview he had with Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “I always say I am not a follower, but when I see somebody who goes about their business, I follow them because at the end of the day I want to be where they are.”
What will McFarlan role with the Steelers be in 2021? It’s hard to say for sure right now. Even so, it’s very unlikely that McFarland won’t have Conner to lean on in 2021 as the University of Pittsburgh product is likely to sign elsewhere during free agency, which begins in a little more than two weeks from today. If Conner does leave this offseason, McFarland and fellow running backs Benny Snell Jr. and Jaylen Samuels will be the carryovers from the 2020 season. The Steelers are likely to spend an early round draft pick this year on another running back as well.
At worst, McFarland should have a bigger role in 2021 than he had as a rookie. While he’ll still likely be just a complementary running back in 2021, it’s not hard to imagine him coming close to tripling the total touches he had during the 2020 season.
While McFarland waits to see what 2021 holds for him, he made sure to recently tell Varley what he thinks about the Steelers after spending his first NFL season with them.
“The Steelers are a great organization,” said McFarland. “Anybody that played football as a kid growing up, growing up watching the Steelers it’s a great vibe. Not just on the field but off the field. It’s a family-oriented organization. That is what I love about it. When we are on the field it feels like it. It’s a great place to be. A great area.”