The Pittsburgh Steelers want a running back who cares, but drafting one with the 28th pick isn’t the solution.
Le’Veon Bell isn’t going to sign a long-term deal in Pittsburgh this offseason. Maybe not even next offseason. Maybe not ever. But for the Steelers to move on from the best running back in the NFL when they’re this loaded with talent is a mistake.
Derrius Guice can one day redefine the running back position. His unique skill set and explosive talent is drawing eyes from everyone. Due to the lack of running back need in the draft, he’s going to fall to the end of the first round, and Pittsburgh is going to consider him.
It’s the wrong move.
The Steelers don’t need much in the draft. After signing Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic, this team will focus on depth in the 2018 NFL Draft. Some experts say the focus remains on inside linebacker. Others expect them to take Mason Rudolph and begin planning for the future. Then, there are those who guess Derrius Guice.
Guice is going to be an Pro Bowl caliber runner in the NFL. No one is questioning it. But Pittsburgh isn’t looking towards the future at running back just yet. With the talent this roster holds, winning now is the priority, and Le’Veon Bell provides the best chance at doing so within the position.
Guice can turn into an elite back, but his productivity in 2018 is a mystery. Rookies tend not to compete at the same level as players already established, which would put the Steelers back in the building blocks.
Their offseason moves thus far tells everyone that it’s 2018 or bust moving forward. Hoping a rookie running back turns out to be a Pro Bowler in one season is a risk, Pittsburgh or any Super Bowl ready team, shouldn’t be considering.
The NFL may be a pass-heavy league, but having that elite talent in the backfield takes a franchise from good to great. The Steelers are already far beyond great. Even if it means missing out on Bell until Week 1, Pittsburgh needs to be thinking he’s the best option they have.
Because he is.
Guice will make some NFL organization very happy they took a chance on him. Maybe he’ll turn into a better play than Bell ever was. But right now, this team doesn’t need to take chances. If it means they miss out on something special, so be it. They won’t be that upset about it when they’re hoisting the Lombardi over their heads.