DRAFTING IT UP
With our former #1 Pick in 2008, Rashard Mendenhall suiting up for Bruce Arians out in Arizona, the Steelers will certainly wait out this year’s first round to bring in any new running back talent. Out of all current draft potential by position, I am most at ease with whatever we end up doing here – not because of lack for necessity but for what should be available to us – legitimately, I think we could see any one of these backs board-available at different times, in no particular order:
- Eddie Lacy – University of Alabama
- Jonathan Franklin – UCLA
- Montee Ball – Wisconsin
- Giovani Bernard – North Carolina
- Andre Ellington – Clemson
- Le’Veon Bell – Michigan State
What I’m most hoping for here, is for Ahmad Bradshaw’s screwed up foot to pass its next Steeler physical. If this guy can play, you might want to sit forward and take notice on a backfield carried by Ahmad-Dwyer-Redman-Johnson. The Draft may well make the ultimate decision on Bradshaw for us; I don’t expect Eddie Lacy to be available by the 48th pick on down, so if we instead draw a Jonathan Franklin we have a really explosive, cut-and-go, versatile back that can certainly push Dwyer to prove he’s worthy of keeping his starting job. We’ve already had Franklin in for a look, and Colbert is known for already liking when he’s looking. Several teams have Franklin ranked over Eddie Lacy; I think the Steelers are one of them.
“With the 13th overall Selection of the 1972 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers Select:” Running Back – Franco Harris, Penn State University
Franco is the most underrated back in NFL history. Look at this man’s body of work: Harris cranked out seven (7) 1,000 yard seasons in his first eight (8) years in pro ball, currently ranking 12th all-time in rushing, and tied with Jerome Bettis for 10th all-time in touchdowns. Arguably the biggest big game rushing producer ever, in all Playoff and Super Bowl games he appeared Franco Harris was absolute MONEY!
How about Harris combining with 1968 Draftee Rocky Bleier (Notre Dame) in 1976 to become only the 2nd duo in NFL history to have dual 1,000+ rushers in the same season?! (Franco =1,128 , Rocky =1,036 ). So much for not giving any stats…
DO ME A SOLID
Sign Free Agent Ahmad Bradshaw. In 2013, when any given RB is really starting to move chains? DO NOT trot out a different RB the very next series! Drafting an every down starter this year would be nice, but doesn’t have to be made ideal. Good general talent is likely to be had at Running Back this Draft; I would personally love to see either UCLA’s Franklin in Rounds 3-4 or North Carolina’s Bernard in 4-6.
WHAT’S YOUR POSITION?
The running game at the confluence of the Three Rivers has been damned and sandbagged by questions, and some legitimate concerns, but Todd Hailey makes better use of Playbook and Personnel this year towards a running game successful enough for Pittsburgh to play Playoff football. This group certainly has the most to prove by far in 2013. With improved line play, a healthy and in-shape Dwyer with another move yet to be made by Pittsburgh, the Steelers will return to a viable running game. The only problem with my optimism here is there are too many related “IF’s” – we aren’t really going to know what we’ve got until we see how we come out of Camp. If we get a something extra in Ahmad Bradshaw, our Running Backs could be better than good. Mr. Rooney’s certainly hoping his luck hasn’t “run out”.
Next Steelers NFL Draft Dodger? Wideouts Go Wide Open