The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of voids to fill in the 2017 NFL Draft, one being a backup option to Le’Veon Bell.
After two years of the best backup running back in the NFL, DeAngelo Williams, the Steelers are forced to find a new complement to Pro Bowler Le’Veon Bell. With the amount of usage Bell takes up during a game, you’d think finding the second running back wouldn’t be a concern. But without a quality backup, you put a lot of pressure on a player with injury problems in the past.
Bell did play all but four games last season, missing the first four weeks due to a suspension. But after missing time the two previous years, both at crucial points in the season, Pittsburgh needs to draft a back as a sign of caution.
In this year’s draft, the Steelers have plenty of options to choose from. With quality backup options falling as far as late Day 2, Pittsburgh will use a loaded draft to find the Le’Veon Bell help they’ve had in the past. Although they aren’t necessarily looking in the first two or three rounds, they can still land a player ready to be a No. 2 in the NFL.
James Conner, the Pittsburgh Panther hoping to continue his legacy in the Steel City, may be the first option on the Steelers’ list. A change of pace back who can turn a nowhere run into an 80-yard touchdown with ease. Conner, who isn’t projected to be drafted until the fourth round, is the perfect back for the AFC North.
His physicality and will to take on any defender is some of the most impressive skill sets in the NFL Draft. As a compliment to Bell’s steady presence, Conner could be a great third-down and big play back in Pittsburgh.
Marlon Mack could be another option for the Steelers. The 5’11 speedster from South Florida is a great pair of hands out of the backfield and an explosive runner. His 4.5 40-yard dash speed makes him a dangerous threat in the open field.
Mack’s biggest concern is his inconsistency. Instead of running through the tackles on every play, Mack looks for the edge too much. Although it does work in his favor most of the time, he’ll need to create plays from inside at the next level.
His explosiveness may be the perfect combination with Bell, though. If Mack slides into Day 2, he’ll be considered a steal in a stacked draft. But if he’s around, which he very well could be, the Steelers will have him high on their list of targets.
There are a lot of options for the Steelers in the draft. These two may have caught the attention of Pittsburgh more than any other, though. Depending on where they’d like to pick Bell’s backup will decide who they’ll have in the backfield next season. But if these two are around on Day 2, expect the Steelers to pick on of them.
As the perfect duo of explosiveness and consistency between the rookie and Bell will add another dominating element to this offense. The new guy may not be DeAngelo Williams right away, but they could turn into something just as special.