Should Steelers Draft Or Sign Free Agent As Backup RB?


The Steelers need a backup running back.

Everyone knows this, yet no one knows for certain as to how the Steelers will achieve this task. There are two options on the table.

Free Agency

Every season there is a large pool of free agents to select from. As of this post, there are 25 free agent running backs who participated in at least 50 snaps in 2014 (former Steeler Jonathan Dwyer makes it 26 if you allow his 48 snaps).

Free agency is a place where it could be difficult to find a back up running back. It’s a Catch 22 in a game of cost vs. productivity vs. desire.

DeAngelo Williams will soon be on the FA market and could be an affordable option for the Steelers.

Find a FA that has great productivity and he will more than likely be rather costly as a backup and will have the mentality of wanting the rock more than just 30 times a season.

Find a FA that is beginning to decline on the field and understands that the only way they can play in the NFL is to serve as a backup, and you are more than likely looking at a back who is on the wrong side of 30, injury prone, and won’t do you much good when they need take over for an injured starter.

Take DeAngelo Williams for instance. Williams’ decline has been a couple years in the making. He’s had to overcome some substantial injuries, and he will soon be parting ways with the Carolina Panthers.

Hand, foot, and leg injuries sidelined Williams and put him on the IR after Week 6. Who knows what this season will hold for him if he picks up the ball again.

Williams very well could come at a price the Steelers are willing to pay. But, he’s on the wrong side of 30, and I seriously question his ability to take the majority of carries in a game if Le’Veon Bell is injured. His attitude is universes better than LeGarrette Blount’s, but it could be another Ben Tate on the field.

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The Draft

Draft picks are precious, and you would hate to see one “wasted” on a thing like a backup RB.

A guys gotta start somewhere though, right?

Jan 24, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad running back David Cobb of Minnesota (37) carries against the South squad during the third quarter of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The North squad defeated the South squad 34-13. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not advocating that the Steelers draft Bell’s backup, but I think it needs to come into serious consideration.

Sure, a rookie will want to play and prove himself. What about a running back, though that knows he needs to learn, improve, and have patience in getting on the field? There’s a plus to having youth in that backup role.

I’ve mentioned and broke down Minnesota’s David Cobb before. He’s a perfect example of a guy with good skills, productive, physical, and a great attitude. He’s a hard worker and understands what it means to be a teammate. The Steelers talked to him at the combine, and he could be a perfect fit.

He’s kind of like a LeGarrette Blount minus the douchebag part.

Cobb is just one of many out there who could be a young go-getter hard working running back that is ready to learn from the best – and then work very hard to bring that on the field when he’s called upon.

There’s a greater risk vs. reward to drafting a young running back, rather than shelling out cash for a guy who may walk out on the team.

Look, I know there are many out there who are passionate about not drafting a RB and finding one in FA. I think there’s both sides to this coin with pros and cons that should be considered.

I’d rather they put money on some more expensive known commodities like re-signing their franchise QB, Ben Roethlisberger and/or going after a free agent corner who’s worth the price tag.

What do you all think, Steeler Nation?

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