Predicting each Steelers 2020 rookie’s breakout game

Chase Claypool Notre Dame (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Chase Claypool Notre Dame (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Anthony McFarland Jr. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) /

Anthony McFarland

Much can’t be expected from Anthony McFarland during his rookie season. As the third option in the backfield, he may see a few snaps here and there as a change of pace option for the Steelers. That said, his speed and ability are worth developing, and he could form into a true threat down the road.

He gets that opportunity in his second year. With James Conner departed, McFarland and Benny Snell are hyped as the co-starters. During the first game of 2021 (at home against the Bengals), McFarland takes his first carry 40 yards to the house. His game doesn’t end there though, as the Steelers continue to turn to him. While Snell does out carry him (15 vs 11), McFarland gains more yards with 102.

He provides some pop in the passing game as well, catching four passes and taking a screen in for his second touchdown. In total, he has 147 yards, and his explosiveness is similar to Willie Parker’s 2005 debut. The combination of Snell and McFarland becomes vital in reestablishing the Steelers rushing attack after Conner leaves in free agency.