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The opinions on our running back room are still mind boggling to me. 

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1 hour ago, Dcash4 said:

The opinions on our running back room are still mind boggling to me. 

Can you ellaborate?

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11 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

The opinions on our running back room are still mind boggling to me. 

What do you mean?

Here are the issues I have with the RB group we have.

James Conner cannot stay healthy. He hasnt his whole career, 2020 wont be any different.

Jaylen Samuels isnt a running back. He is a receiving back with mediocre pass pro 

Benny Snell lacks burst and overall speed. He is more of a short yardage back atm.

Keryth Whyte has burst, could develop into a quality change of pace back, too early to know.

Trey Edmunds is camp fodder.

What we have is a lot of RBs. What we dont have is a single reliable one.

Edited by wwhickok
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55 minutes ago, wwhickok said:

What do you mean?

Here are the issues I have with the RB group we have.

James Conner cannot stay healthy. He hasnt his whole career, 2020 wont be any different.

Jaylen Samuels isnt a running back. He is a receiving back with mediocre pass pro 

Benny Snell lacks burst and overall speed. He is more of a short yardage back atm.

Keryth Whyte has burst, could develop into a quality change of pace back, too early to know.

Trey Edmunds is camp fodder.

What we have is a lot of RBs. What we dont have is a single reliable one.

I agree with pretty much everything.

Only thing I will say is that, while I do think we need RB help and wouldnt be opposed to drafting one, I think we have bigger needs.

I am also someone with the mindset that OLine is just as, if not more integral to the success of a running game than the RBs themselves.   At this point, I dont think there are many RBs who are going to have a ton of success behind our current run blocking.

Right now, we need a downhill runner.   Conner is a good Rb, but as you said, you cant trust him to stay healthy.   Snell is also solid, but isnt starting material.    

Bottom line....RB is a need, but its probably not even top 5 on my needs list.

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20 minutes ago, FourThreeMafia said:

I agree with pretty much everything.

Only thing I will say is that, while I do think we need RB help and wouldnt be opposed to drafting one, I think we have bigger needs.

I am also someone with the mindset that OLine is just as, if not more integral to the success of a running game than the RBs themselves.   At this point, I dont think there are many RBs who are going to have a ton of success behind our current run blocking.

Right now, we need a downhill runner.   Conner is a good Rb, but as you said, you cant trust him to stay healthy.   Snell is also solid, but isnt starting material.    

Bottom line....RB is a need, but its probably not even top 5 on my needs list.

I agree I think within the next couple years, Pouncey & Alejandro Villeneuva are both gone. 

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10 hours ago, FourThreeMafia said:

Can you ellaborate?

Too many other issues to make RB a priority. Inside of that, I dont buy that Connor is injury prone, rather a guy who has gotten injured (no repeating injuries, no continued soft tissue issues - An ankle from getting tackled, a knee from getting tackled, a shoulder from hitting people, the shoulder again from being stupid and bringing him back for a Thursday night game when they could have given him AT LEAST 10 more days, and then a groin injury  -- probably because of conditioning with missed time). While I dont buy he is injury prone, I do recognize missed time. I also believe that Snell/Samuels/any low level FA can compete with Ben Roethlisberger back on deck if Connor misses 4 games. I do not believe if you were to play the season twice -- once with a 2nd round RB and once with our current group -- that there would be much, if any, difference in production or usage.

I think our OLine issues are over blown. We have been a pass first team and that's what our OL does best. We dont, and havent had, 5 maulers who just open big holes. We have capable guys who work best when we have a threat of a passing game -- something that was completely eliminated last year.  I think overall the run game issues boil down to an OC who isnt very good, a situation that faced 8-9 man boxes (with single high safeties usually at 10-12 not 12-15+), eliminated QB changes at the line, and completely removed the horizontal passing game we used to much in the past to help control LBs/S. 

I think next year is a tremendous year to play the trade market game, if needed. I have listed it before somewhere and just cant google it again right now but there is a long list of guys coming up as FAs the following year. RB is one of the easiest transitions into the offense mid-season. IF our RBs were to fall flat on their face or Connor goes down long term, there are actually a few decent opportunities to throw a mid/late round pick somewhere and get a quality back who wasnt destined to resign on their team in 2021. Better than that, RB value is best spent on rookie deals. Why waste 1 year throwing a guy into a committee of already NFL level guys, especially when the following year looks to have high quality RB free agents that could help flood the market and drive RB talent further down in the draft. Speaking of Committee - Tomlin doesnt believe in it, so you are either wasting Connor who has a lot of talent on the last year of his rookie deal, wasting the draft pick, or wasting your last 2 years draft picks. 

To boil it all down: I think this running back necessity as a top round pick for us is a knee jerk reaction to 2019, which in itself was a fluke season. I dont think some understand just how drastic a change it will be from 2019 to have a fully involved offensive system again (audibles, RPOs, hots, full playbook) and the ability to control a game more from under center. I also think that last year removed the memory of just how good James Connor was in 2018 despite us doing everything we could to go against a run game. It was also kind of hidden this year how good he was from down to down because of the overall offensive struggles. Again, while I respect the fact that he has been injured, he isnt Will Fuller who cant jog without pulling something. I would just like to see Snell and Samuels get a little more mixed work and take a bit of the load off Connor. If we are THAT concerned about Connor, than we just need to cut bait and move on. If we are that down on Snell, then we need to stop wasting draft resources on a position that is generally super easy to fill. If we are to transition to a new RB and invest a high pick, I think we are far better off waiting 1 year when the FA list is most likely better and we have, hopefully, taken care of some issue areas that are in desperate need of new bodies.

I would rather roll with Connor (who I view as top 10 when healthy), see Snells development/body change, and understand how the offensive will work with Ben before investing our limited resources to a position I dont think changes greatly with a new addition.  

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2 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

Too many other issues to make RB a priority. Inside of that, I dont buy that Connor is injury prone, rather a guy who has gotten injured (no repeating injuries, no continued soft tissue issues - An ankle from getting tackled, a knee from getting tackled, a shoulder from hitting people, the shoulder again from being stupid and bringing him back for a Thursday night game when they could have given him AT LEAST 10 more days, and then a groin injury  -- probably because of conditioning with missed time). While I dont buy he is injury prone, I do recognize missed time. I also believe that Snell/Samuels/any low level FA can compete with Ben Roethlisberger back on deck if Connor misses 4 games. I do not believe if you were to play the season twice -- once with a 2nd round RB and once with our current group -- that there would be much, if any, difference in production or usage.

I think our OLine issues are over blown. We have been a pass first team and that's what our OL does best. We dont, and havent had, 5 maulers who just open big holes. We have capable guys who work best when we have a threat of a passing game -- something that was completely eliminated last year.  I think overall the run game issues boil down to an OC who isnt very good, a situation that faced 8-9 man boxes (with single high safeties usually at 10-12 not 12-15+), eliminated QB changes at the line, and completely removed the horizontal passing game we used to much in the past to help control LBs/S. 

I think next year is a tremendous year to play the trade market game, if needed. I have listed it before somewhere and just cant google it again right now but there is a long list of guys coming up as FAs the following year. RB is one of the easiest transitions into the offense mid-season. IF our RBs were to fall flat on their face or Connor goes down long term, there are actually a few decent opportunities to throw a mid/late round pick somewhere and get a quality back who wasnt destined to resign on their team in 2021. Better than that, RB value is best spent on rookie deals. Why waste 1 year throwing a guy into a committee of already NFL level guys, especially when the following year looks to have high quality RB free agents that could help flood the market and drive RB talent further down in the draft. Speaking of Committee - Tomlin doesnt believe in it, so you are either wasting Connor who has a lot of talent on the last year of his rookie deal, wasting the draft pick, or wasting your last 2 years draft picks. 

To boil it all down: I think this running back necessity as a top round pick for us is a knee jerk reaction to 2019, which in itself was a fluke season. I dont think some understand just how drastic a change it will be from 2019 to have a fully involved offensive system again (audibles, RPOs, hots, full playbook) and the ability to control a game more from under center. I also think that last year removed the memory of just how good James Connor was in 2018 despite us doing everything we could to go against a run game. It was also kind of hidden this year how good he was from down to down because of the overall offensive struggles. Again, while I respect the fact that he has been injured, he isnt Will Fuller who cant jog without pulling something. I would just like to see Snell and Samuels get a little more mixed work and take a bit of the load off Connor. If we are THAT concerned about Connor, than we just need to cut bait and move on. If we are that down on Snell, then we need to stop wasting draft resources on a position that is generally super easy to fill. If we are to transition to a new RB and invest a high pick, I think we are far better off waiting 1 year when the FA list is most likely better and we have, hopefully, taken care of some issue areas that are in desperate need of new bodies.

I would rather roll with Connor (who I view as top 10 when healthy), see Snells development/body change, and understand how the offensive will work with Ben before investing our limited resources to a position I dont think changes greatly with a new addition.  

Good post.  Agree with most of it.  However, even if you dont think Connor is injury prone, he still hasnt been consistently dependable.

I wouldnt take RB in the 2020 draft unless its crazy good value.

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34 minutes ago, FourThreeMafia said:

I wouldnt take RB in the 2020 draft unless its crazy good value.

I agree with this. I understand that RB is a position with little transition time from college to pro, but they really don't move the needle that much. Is a rookie going to be so much better than our collection of average guys that it will make us into a SB contender? The answer is a resounding no. Having Ben back(assuming he is healthy) will do more for our running game than anything. I think drafting a stud interior O-linemen is a far more prudent way of addressing our offensive problems. 

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3 hours ago, FourThreeMafia said:

I agree with pretty much everything.

Quote

Only thing I will say is that, while I do think we need RB help and wouldnt be opposed to drafting one, I think we have bigger needs.

 

Boom! I agree 100%. RB is not a top need, But......I would say follow your draft board though too.  I would not ignore the position completely because it is not my top three or four of needs. I don't think WR is a high priority either. However, if a good WR is there and I have a higher grade on them than say a IOL, TE, or Safety; take the BPA even if it is not a desperate need.  I think history shows that you get in trouble reaching or overdrafting as well as passing on good players.  

 

Quote

I am also someone with the mindset that OLine is just as, if not more integral to the success of a running game than the RBs themselves.   At this point, I dont think there are many RBs who are going to have a ton of success behind our current run blocking.

I completely agree. Interior Offensive Line is one of my top draft priorities.  With Ben aging and our RB's being mainly North/South type of guys, the finesse style of Lev Bell does not suit our OL's and they are typically stronger at pass protection.  I would like to see the philosphy switch up to being a more balanced team than a pass first team.  I think it helps the Steelers play better complimentary football.  

Right now, we need a downhill runner.   Conner is a good Rb, but as you said, you cant trust him to stay healthy.   Snell is also solid, but isnt starting material. 

Quote

Right now, we need a downhill runner.   Conner is a good Rb, but as you said, you cant trust him to stay healthy.   Snell is also solid, but isnt starting material. 

  I think Connor is a smashmouth North/South runner. The Steelers do not always use him that way, but that is his strength.  He is what I would term as a violent runner.  He is not gifted with the natural speed/quickness of some or the brute size and girth of a Bettis. However, if you give him some blocking, he will get some yards.  As far as his injuries, I would say that some are attributed to his style, some to the fact that he probably needs to learn when to lower his head and when to get down, and the lack of good blocking will cause you to take some shots.I am not sure that I would want to rely on Snell leading our rushing attack if Connors went down again.  Maybe for a game or two, but not be the feauture back of this team. He is a complimentary piece and not the main piece. 

Bottom line....RB is a need, but its probably not even top 5 on my needs list.

Agree!

2 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

Too many other issues to make RB a priority. Inside of that, I dont buy that Connor is injury prone, rather a guy who has gotten injured (no repeating injuries, no continued soft tissue issues - An ankle from getting tackled, a knee from getting tackled, a shoulder from hitting people, the shoulder again from being stupid and bringing him back for a Thursday night game when they could have given him AT LEAST 10 more days, and then a groin injury  -- probably because of conditioning with missed time). While I dont buy he is injury prone, I do recognize missed time. I also believe that Snell/Samuels/any low level FA can compete with Ben Roethlisberger back on deck if Connor misses 4 games. I do not believe if you were to play the season twice -- once with a 2nd round RB and once with our current group -- that there would be much, if any, difference in production or usage.

Pretty much on board with what you are saying. My only thing is do not ignore RB if it is the BPA when the Steelers pick.  

I think our OLine issues are over blown. We have been a pass first team and that's what our OL does best. We dont, and havent had, 5 maulers who just open big holes. We have capable guys who work best when we have a threat of a passing game -- something that was completely eliminated last year.  I think overall the run game issues boil down to an OC who isnt very good, a situation that faced 8-9 man boxes (with single high safeties usually at 10-12 not 12-15+), eliminated QB changes at the line, and completely removed the horizontal passing game we used to much in the past to help control LBs/S. 

I disagree that our OL issues were overblown.  We could not run the ball consistently period! I do agree with some of your "root causes" of this problem.  We also don't need five maulers to run the ball well with Big Ben at QB.  You do with the back-up QB;s that we had. However, I do think that the philosphy has to change somewhat.  Even when Ben was in there this team has struggles in short yardage situations and failed to "impose its will" upon opposing defenses in the run game.  

Coaches and coordinator take heat for a lack of success. You look a lot smarter if the guys you are playing can execute the plays and understand the philosophy/scheme.  Big Ben made many of the OL calls based on the defense.  That was a huge missing component to the rushing attack and overall offense as much as his passing and other leadership.  Bottom line is that we had two starting QB's that we didn't hope to see in a real or serious football situation prior to 2021 or 2022. If Landry Jones was even at QB, this helps the offense because he had some experience and comfort with the offense and saw what defenses could/would do with a back-up.  

I think next year is a tremendous year to play the trade market game, if needed. I have listed it before somewhere and just cant google it again right now but there is a long list of guys coming up as FAs the following year. RB is one of the easiest transitions into the offense mid-season. IF our RBs were to fall flat on their face or Connor goes down long term, there are actually a few decent opportunities to throw a mid/late round pick somewhere and get a quality back who wasn't destined to resign on their team in 2021.

Good point. I was originally locked into trying to sign a veteran RB.  I think you get someone with experience or that will not cost an arm and a leg.  Truthfully, the best back for our system was Lev Bell.  The style of blocking our OL is effective doing and comforth they formed was great for him and the team.  I will say that even when Bell was at his best, there were times our OL just couldn't move defensive lineman off the ball. In the 2016 AFC Championship Game and the 2017 Divisional Play-off game the OL couldn't pick up key first downs or red zone TD's running the ball.  The problem with Bell is his salary and the teams lack of cap space.  There are other lower priced backs that could do the job though. If a good RB prospect is there in the second, third or fourth round over a so so TE, IOL, OLB, ILB or Safety prospect; I atke the good player over the "so-called need."

Better than that, RB value is best spent on rookie deals. Why waste 1 year throwing a guy into a committee of already NFL level guys, especially when the following year looks to have high quality RB free agents that could help flood the market and drive RB talent further down in the draft. Speaking of Committee - Tomlin doesnt believe in it, so you are either wasting Connor who has a lot of talent on the last year of his rookie deal, wasting the draft pick, or wasting your last 2 years draft picks. 

Philosophy should not be put in stone, iron or steel! Learn from the past. Lev Bell got burned out in 2016. He feared coming back to the team to risk injury because Coach T said that he would run his legs off.  I think that you have to adjust how you do this.  You want your RB to be effective come the play-offs.  Veteran NBA players don't play all 82 regular season games to keep their legs and minds from becoming run down.  Maybe it is time to consider that more. The game has changed from the 1970's, 1980'2, 1990/s and even 2000's.  Injuries and lack of effective depth on the roster, can kill a team.

To boil it all down: I think this running back necessity as a top round pick for us is a knee jerk reaction to 2019, which in itself was a fluke season. I dont think some understand just how drastic a change it will be from 2019 to have a fully involved offensive system again (audibles, RPOs, hots, full playbook) and the ability to control a game more from under center.

Well said, Amen!  I agree!

I also think that last year removed the memory of just how good James Connor was in 2018 despite us doing everything we could to go against a run game. It was also kind of hidden this year how good he was from down to down because of the overall offensive struggles. Again, while I respect the fact that he has been injured, he isnt Will Fuller who cant jog without pulling something. I would just like to see Snell and Samuels get a little more mixed work and take a bit of the load off Connor.

Agree that there needs to be more of a rotation.  Samuels took a step back in my humble opinion from 2018.  He ran the ball much more confidently and effectively in 2018.  I am not sure Snell is not more than a short yardage back. I am not sure Whyte is much more than a fast change of pace back.  Lastly, not sure Samuels can be more than a third down back.  Connor is the closests to a bell cow back (everydown, feature, RB1). I would like to see more talent here, but it is still not as much of a priority as some other spots (safety, IOL for example). 

If we are THAT concerned about Connor, than we just need to cut bait and move on. If we are that down on Snell, then we need to stop wasting draft resources on a position that is generally super easy to fill. If we are to transition to a new RB and invest a high pick, I think we are far better off waiting 1 year when the FA list is most likely better and we have, hopefully, taken care of some issue areas that are in desperate need of new bodies.

I would scour the waiver wire, but ultimately, if I did not find a reasonable vet, then I could live with Connors, Samuels, Whtye and Snell.  Having a healthy Rosie Nix will help the rushing attack as well.

I would rather roll with Connor (who I view as top 10 when healthy), see Snells development/body change, and understand how the offensive will work with Ben before investing our limited resources to a position I dont think changes greatly with a new addition.  

Overall I agree. However, if a great talent or even good draft value falls to our pick, don't pass him up. We traded some picks to get better talent (Bush and Minkah).  I agree that Connor is a top 10 RB when healthy and playing with a QB1.  Let's get him some help blocking and rotating the ball to kepp him healthy and fresh. 

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6 hours ago, wwhickok said:

What do you mean?

Here are the issues I have with the RB group we have.

James Conner cannot stay healthy. He hasnt his whole career, 2020 wont be any different.

Jaylen Samuels isnt a running back. He is a receiving back with mediocre pass pro 

Benny Snell lacks burst and overall speed. He is more of a short yardage back atm.

Keryth Whyte has burst, could develop into a quality change of pace back, too early to know.

Trey Edmunds is camp fodder.

What we have is a lot of RBs. What we dont have is a single reliable one.

All true and the Steelers will not give up on any of their draft choices so no RB drafted this year.

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As far as drafting a RB, R6 or R7 for WR or RB imo.

If you're gonna take one and actually WR could be done in R4 simply because it's a position we draft really well.

Those late rounds are anyone's guess so if theres a good value at RB, imo, you take him.

As far as Conner not being injury prone, call it whatever you want he hasnt had a single NFL season without an injury thus far and is very unlikely to be a candidate for a long term contract moving forward imo.

I do believe Samuel's can have some success in our passing game but he isnt a true running back, so I personally dont equate him into our running game, however the Steelers do.

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 If/when Connor goes down, we have no impactful player toting the rock.  While I agree that could have a lot to the OL play (Chicken/Egg?) if Akers is some how there at #100 I run to the podium.  

Edited by Chieferific
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16 hours ago, Chieferific said:

 If/when Connor goes down, we have no impactful player toting the rock.  While I agree that could have a lot to the OL play (Chicken/Egg?) if Akers is some how there at #100 I run to the podium.  

This is going to be a big year for both Connor and Ju Ju. I think that they both have good years (and remain healthy).  Having a good veteran QB will definitely help the offense. It os commonplace to like players. I try to stick to the board.  I also look at having a plan/system and contigencies. Unfortunately, the top gun went down last year. He would have made up for other issues on the offense and helped boost the play of some others as well.  

As far as OL.  We have not been the tough physical, punch you in the mouth rushing attack since the days of James Connor.  Even when Bell was here and the team had success, I can remember too often not being able to run the ball when teams stacked the line.  This is going back to 2016 off the top of my head.  Too many times in 3rd or 4th and one or inside the five yard line, the Steelers could not muscle, pound, or move opposing defenders.  I am even including when Bell was running wild in the play-offs against Miami and Kansas City.  We need a guy or two who can move someone off the ball. I think that is why many liked what BJ Finney brought to the OL.  e is not an overall better OG or C than Foster or Pouncey, but he can move defenders better in my humble opinion. Hence, our rushing attack appeared (maybe it  was just perception) to be better with him at one of those spots. 

All that said, I still want a big body who can impose his will and move another big man where he doesn't want to go.  If there is a highly rated RB in the third or fourth round that is at the top of your board, I say take him over lesser rated player that you may want over need (like say safety, TE, DL, Edge,or ILB). I know I am being redundant, but I am pretty passionate about seeing some changes that will help take this team to the next level in competing for the elusive #7 Lombardi. It has been nearly 12 years since the SB win during the 2008 season and nearly ten years since the SB loss to Green Bay during the 2010 seasons.  Ben may not be considered a top QB by many s0-called experts, but he is experienced, savy and intelligent enough to beat any team. Give him a punishing rushing attack and solid to great defense and he can more than get the job done.

 

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On 2/5/2020 at 8:13 AM, FourThreeMafia said:

I agree with pretty much everything.

Only thing I will say is that, while I do think we need RB help and wouldnt be opposed to drafting one, I think we have bigger needs.

I am also someone with the mindset that OLine is just as, if not more integral to the success of a running game than the RBs themselves.   At this point, I dont think there are many RBs who are going to have a ton of success behind our current run blocking.

Right now, we need a downhill runner.   Conner is a good Rb, but as you said, you cant trust him to stay healthy.   Snell is also solid, but isnt starting material.    

Bottom line....RB is a need, but its probably not even top 5 on my needs list.

Two things I disagree with:

1. There’s not many running backs that would have success running behind our O Line, really? Even Conner had success when he was healthy. Yes, Pouncey and Foster are aging and showed signs of it last year but we still have a top 10 run blocking O-Line in the league. Conner is an above average running back that has played at a pro bowl level (when healthy) BECAUSE of our O-Line. 
 

2. Agree that running back isn’t a top 5 “need” and it would certainly be a luxury pick to take one in the 2nd but this draft class is insanely loaded with talent especially at the top. Any of the top 5 guys would be game changers and make an immediate impact. You can’t say the same for any other position at #49. If you haven’t noticed we have a very small window to compete for a super bowl. Who knows how Ben is going to look after elbow surgery, we may need to rely on the run game more than we are used to and especially more than we did in 2018 when Ben was at the top of the league in pass attempts. 

Drafting a dynamic/game changing RB gives us the biggest boost and most value for the next two seasons. Not to mention Conner is a free agent next season and I doubt we re-sign him with the money he will want. So if we don’t address the position this off season, it becomes a need next off season.

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