Steelers RB roster bubble: Anthony McFarland
Running back is one of the harder positions to build a bubble for. While Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren are likely to be key fixtures on this offense, the remainder of the depth chart is completely up in the air.
On paper, the most secure name should be Anthony McFarland. A former third-round pick who is now in his fourth year with the team, that typically means some sort of role was found for the player. That hasn’t been the case for McFarland, as he has yet to develop into a quality change of pace back or a good special teams player.
In a room filled with similar lackluster veterans and undrafted rookies though, McFarland has to be seen as the early favorite to make the team. He has speed, something both Harris and Warren lack, which would make him a valuable third running back.
The issue isn’t so much his offensive play (which hasn’t been remarkable by any means). He offers you very little on special teams, as he has limited return man experience and doesn’t profile as a coverage player. If his offensive contributions are limited and he can’t do anything on special teams, it is hard to make the case to keep McFarland around on the roster.
While on paper he is the favorite to land the job, McFarland is still very much on the roster bubble. He needs to show that he can help the offense with some big plays and be more than just a middling return man. If not, he may not stick around for this season with the Steelers.