7 Steelers who need to start against the Browns in Week 17

Justin Layne Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Justin Layne Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland (26). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Anthony McFarland

Anthony McFarland has been a frustrating rookie to watch so far. He has obvious talent, but more often than not his over-eagerness and lack of elite vision have caused him to struggle as a complementary piece on this offense. Worse yet, he has been spending quite a few games as a healthy scratch recently as the team opts to play the inept Jaylen Samuels over him. Given the lacking nature of this game on Sunday, the Steelers would be wise to let McFarland get some serious work.

Outside of giving McFarland more of a chance as a runner, he is seemingly the last unknown in the locker room at running back. Samuels is a below-average option anywhere on the field while Benny Snell is a solid power back/short-yardage option but seems destined to be a backup unless he has an elite line in front of him. With this group likely losing its starter in James Conner this offseason, having a better idea of what McFarland can provide is a major help.

While it seems unlikely that McFarland becomes an every-down back, it would be comforting knowing that he can still serve a role on this offense. Right now, he isn’t a player that can be counted on to serve a role on the offense next season. If he busts off a couple of big runs against the Browns, it could go a long way in how this team views their current group of runners. Who knows, Willie Parker had a great game at the end of his rookie season that set him up for more snaps the following year. McFarland could have his chance to replicate that this week.