With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are 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).
Topic Statement: The Steelers should add a running back this weekend with one of their draft picks.
Explanation: The Steelers have drafted at least one running back between the first and fifth rounds since 2017, starting with James Conner in 2017 and culminating in Najee Harris last year. Yet their current depth chart behind Harris leaves much to be desired in spite of that investment.
Harris led the NFL in touches overall and snaps for running backs last season, as a rookie. That’s not going to be sustainable no matter how much he has convinced himself that he has trained for a workload that regularly sees him touch the ball over 350 times a year.
Benny Snell is not the number two back the Steelers need. He takes too long to get started. They need somebody who can come off the bench cold and produce yardage, even if he can’t sustain a longer workload.
Anthony McFarland has given no indication that he is going to be that guy in year three. He spent most of last season inactive when he wasn’t on the Reserve/Injured List. I liked him plenty when the team first drafted him, but he simply has not done anything, nor given any reason to believe he will begin doing something now.
Even if it would be beneficial for the Steelers to add a back in the draft, as a practical matter, it still ranks pretty far down the team’s positional priorities list. There are about 10 or so positions I would rather see them address before getting to running back.
There are plenty of veteran running backs available, and more will be made available after the draft when teams start cutting. Just sign Phillip Lindsay or somebody else like him after the draft and call it a day and be grateful you didn’t have to spend yet another draft pick on the position.