Steelers could be targeting a running back in 3rd round of the NFL Draft
Running back is a position that is on Pittsburgh’s radar this year. Here’s why the Steelers could elect to take one with their third-round pick.
Even before the 2019 season ended, we could have assumed that there would be talks about the Steelers taking a running back in the 2020 NFL Draft. James Conner was on the last year of his rookie deal and as missed time in each of his first three seasons.
However, where Pittsburgh would look to take one is a completely different question. Though they drafted Benny Snell in the fourth round last season and Jaylen Samuels still has two years left on his rookie deal, I have reason to believe that they could go running back early in this year’s NFL Draft.
Here’s what Kevin Colbert had to say on the matter, according to Dale Lolley of DK Pittsburgh Sports:
Colbert does a good job beating around the bush here – making mention of their confidence level in James Conner. However, it’s clear that they want options at the position. There are several running backs whose names seem to be connected to the Steelers: Zack Moss, Cam Akers, and A.J. Dillon.
If you know anything about Pittsburgh’s draft trends, this should come as no surprise. The Steelers almost always look for big, durable running backs who fit their size metrics (at least 5’10” and 215 pounds).
Moss has played 45 games in four seasons, while Dillon and Akers have averaged over 11 games in each of their three college seasons. Typically, the Steelers prefer underclassman when drafting a running back high (think Le’Veon Bell and Rashad Mendenall), but that alone won’t be enough to deter them from drafting a player like Moss.
For some reason, the Steelers haven’t shown much interest in Jonathan Taylor – and underclassman with good size and great athleticism. This could be due to his outrageously large workload in college or his issue of securing the football.
Either way, it looks like Pittsburgh could be destined to take a running back in round three this year. Moss, Dillon, and Akers are three players that check nearly every box the Steelers look for in a running back, and while just one of them (Akers) runs faster than a 4.5, a lack of top-end speed has never really bothered the Steelers at the running back position.
Le’Veon Bell ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash coming out of Michigan State, Conner ran a 4.65 at the combine, and Benny Snell ran a 4.66. By this assessment, Zack Moss at 4.65 speed is certainly on the table.
While I don’t necessarily agree with their philosophy when it comes to drafting running backs, there is no doubt they have certain things they look for. Pittsburgh will likely add a running back in the NFL Draft this year, and all signs are pointing to it being one of these guys in the third round.