2015 Steelers NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v9.0
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Le’Veon Bell will likely miss at least one game this season due to his pot-related suspension. We all saw how poor the Steelers’ offense performed without him in January’s playoff game, and I have to believe that the coaching staff will want to add some competition for Josh Harris. One running back who should be high on Pittsburgh’s radars on the draft’s second and third days is Buck Allen of Southern California.
An upright and tall runner like Bell, Allen has a nice mix of deceptive athleticism and power like the former Michigan State star. Allen followed up his breakout sophomore season (2013: 785 rushing yards and 14 TDs) with an even more awesome junior campaign for the Trojans (2014: 1,489 rushing yards and 11 TDs).
Like Bell as well, Allen is a potent receiver out of the backfield and was used a great deal in USC’s pro-style offense. Overall, Buck caught 63 passes for 710 yards and two touchdowns during his final two seasons, and his ability to chip in as a receiver and a pass blocker would allow the Steelers to not miss much of a beat with Bell out of the lineup.
While Allen has good vision, solid cutback ability and plays well in space for a running back of his frame, I do harbor some concerns about his upright running style, how well he can break tackles, overall ball security and how effective he can be with quicker closing holes at the pro level. The combine will be a huge event for Allen to illustrate that he has the type of agility and speed of some of the more compact runners in this draft class as well.
Allen’s deficiencies and the overall value of running backs will likely force him to wait until early on the draft’s third day to hear his name called. Nevertheless, he has the potential and tools to be a perfect fit in and a compliment to Bell in Pittsburgh’s offensive system.
Next: Round 5