A Running Back, AB and Thoughts on the Draft
Everyone’s job is important, no one is indispensable. ~ Chuck Noll
Seems like the drama will continue through the off-season.
Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster
I’m sure by now you saw that AB is running his mouth about JuJu and he decided to return fire. A lot of folks have come out to condemn AB’s classless behavior including former Steeler Ryan Clark. It’s a shame that someone who was so adored by Steeler Nation has turned into such a giant asshat. I speculated in a recent Bell and Brown post that jealousy over the attention JuJu has been getting was part of the problem, looks like I was right on the money. It’s a damn shame someone as talented as Brown has such a fragile ego and honestly, although I wish we’d gotten more for it, it’s a good thing he’s gone.
Another Running Back
I think it’s pretty clear that the Steelers will be in the market for another running back before the start of camp. And I don’t mean just a camp body but someone who could be a third string back and provide some meaningful help if there’s an injury to James Connor or Jaylen Samuels. This would be similar, but perhaps even a more limited role than DeAngelo Williams had a few years back. By the way, in scouting the web for this quick piece I bumped into an interesting ranked list of all Steeler running backs, what do you think?
In looking around the league and the now defunct AAF, I can’t get one name out of my head, Trent Richardson. I know, the Browns drafted him – strike one, he flopped with the Browns – strike two then flopped with Indy, strike three – bust. However, you don’t get drafted number one without talent, he played behind a Browns offensive line and then for Indy and he was leading the AAF in rushing touchdowns. Although he didn’t make it in the NFL on his first try, his career rushing average is 3.3+ yards per carry and his receiving average was 8.1 yards per catch. Absolutely not number one pick numbers, maybe not starting numbers but pretty good for a number three back. He’s desperate to get back to the NFL so he’s highly motivated to perform, so I say sign him to a one year league minimum and see what he can do in camp. Along with of course a late round draft pick. I’ve seen a couple of mock drafts that suggest Benny Snell might be available in the fifth round, if so that would be a bargain draft price for a really good running back. Playing at Kentucky he was under the radar, but Benny Snell can ball.
The NFL Draft
We all love NFL Draft Day and we all hate NFL Draft Day. That first round is either the joy of watching David DeCastro drop in our laps or watching our team fail to trade up or get an inside linebacker and instead picking Terrell Edmunds. Not kicking Edmunds here, I thought he did a good job in his first season and showed some flashes that he could take a nice first year jump into a very solid piece of the defense. This year’s draft is all about the Devins, will we trade up, will Devin Bush fall in our laps? I read an interesting piece that suggested if we want Devin Bush to fall, we need to see trades for quarterbacks and both bigtime tight ends to get chosen up high, sounds about right.
In thinking about the draft, I’ve been all in on the idea of dropping whatever picks we need to go up to number nine and get Devin Bush. However, the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I don’t like that idea. We tried that last year and failed, as Bob Labriola always reminds us, it takes two to make a trade and the Bills might not be looking to move down, and anything higher might be too rich for our blood. Given the signing of both cornerback, Steven Nelson and linebacker, Mark Barron our starting lineup is in pretty good shape. We desperately need someone with youth and range at both positions as backups or even starters but we could survive a year without it, it’s still better than last year with Burns and Bostic. Joe Haden is also likely gone after the next season or so and it would be nice to get his heir in place.
For all of these reasons I’ve come around to this position. We have 10 draft picks. Sit and wait for the 20th pick. If Devin Bush is available pounce, if by some miracle Devin White should be available at 8 or 9, trade the house for him. But if neither are there at 20, take the best corner available (I know we’ve sucked at picking corners in the draft) or if again some super stud DL or edge guy is there pick them, don’t pick a wide-receiver, there are plenty in the later rounds. Then in the second or third grab an ILB for depth as well as grabbing an edge guy, find a receiver, add an OL depth guy and late in the 5th, 6th or 7th a running back.
The fact is, I’m pretty excited about the Steelers possibilities for next year, but Spring, on the NFL calendar, is always a time for hope.