Steelers: Scheuerman A Shoo-in For A Spot On The Final Roster?


The Pittsburgh Steelers have always been fortunate enough to find running back talent in undrafted free agents. Remember Willie Parker? The heir to the backfield after Jerome Bettis‘ retirement went undrafted in the 2004 NFL draft. He would later be picked up by Pittsburgh and saw more playing time in the 2005 season as injuries ravaged the Steelers’ running back corps.

Over ten years later, free agent running backs are still getting the chance to make a difference on the Steelers’ offense. Last season it was Wake Forest’s Josh Harris that received an opportunity of a lifetime. Waiting on the practice squad for over half the season, he would be called upon to step up after LeGarrette Blount was released by the team soon after their 27-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

Just as Harris slowly built a name for himself this time last year as an undrafted rookie running back, there are two this season by the name sof Cameron Stingily and Ross Scheuerman that will attempt to defy their undrafted status by making the final 53. Of the two, Scheuerman could have the potential to be a great addition to the Steelers’ running back corps.

We would not be having this conversation right now had it not been for Le’Veon Bell‘s actions in the off season last year that led to him being issued a suspension for the first three games of the 2015 season. DeAngelo Williams was the Steelers’ lone free agent signing this season in an attempt to bring in a veteran running back, as well as a temporary replacement, but he cannot do it all on his own.

The Steelers love talented players from small schools (see linebacker Howard Jones) and Scheuerman fits that mold to a T. In eleven games in his senior year at Lafayette College he totaled 1,191 yards rushing, and averaged 108 yards a game. Add in an average of five yards a carry and twelve touchdowns as a testament to his ability to fight for every yard possible and a nose for the endzone.

With great field of vision and footwork, he has the ability to make multiple opponents miss their tackles and send them crashing to the turf. When his defenders do get to him, his six foot frame makes him difficult to bring down and often requires more than one man to stop him. With a burst of speed off the line he gets to the outside quickly, and is well on his way to the endzone by the time he can be caught.

He also serves as a great pass catching receiver. Last season he recorded 57 catches for 521 yards. This would give quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a great backfield receiving option just like the one he has in Bell. Scheuerman displays immense talent in multiple aspects of the game. This gives him an excellent chance to beat out Harris who, even with knowledge of the playbook, is still raw in his own right.

Being from a relatively unknown college, he will be criticized for not playing against some of the “bigger” names in the NCAA. Dont let this little statistic fool you. Scheuerman is a talented athlete that should not be judged by where he played, but how well he played on the field.

The Steelers have many options at running back, but only one of them is a proven player. Williams may have the experience of a veteran athlete, but with that seniority comes wear and tear. He has been injured in the past, one of the main reasons he was not resigned by the Carolina Panthers, and those injuries are always capable of being reaggravated.

Also on the depth chart is Dri Archer. Last year’s third round draft pick failed to contribute much in his rookie season, despite holding a roster spot the entire year. The 5’8″, 170 pound tweener only accounted for 40 yards on 10 touches last season. Even if he was a relatively high round pick he should not be allowed to retain a roster spot if he is being outperformed by Scheuerman, or any other running back.

January 17, 2015; Carson, CA, USA; National running back Ross Scheuerman (29) of Lafayette runs the ball against American during the second half of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There is a reason Pittsburgh brings in small school athletes such as Scheuerman. Most of them have an great work ethic, brought on by the fact that they will most likely get passed over because they are not coming out of a well known college. As it has been proven time and time again, your college alma mater does not guarantee NFL success.

Pittsburgh would do well to start developing a number two running back for the future as soon as possible. DeAngelo Williams is a nice short term answer, but is entering his tenth year in the NFL.

Ross Scheuerman can be the long term answer the Steelers must address in the eventual future. The talented athlete has a long journey ahead of him, but he can defy the odds placed before him with the hard work and determination that has brought him to this stage in what could be a promising NFL career.

Next: Steelers MMQB

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