It’s funny to me in the weeks following each draft how much optimism there is around the Steelers. I realize we don’t want to finish picking nine guys and then pick up 15 more undrafted free agents and then think “Geez, we’re screwed!” But it almost seems like the Steelers could draft a wet mop and most fans will be like “I think he’s going to be good once the season starts.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the crap out of all this optimism after the 2012 campaign ended in a mediocre 8-8 and the locker room drama debacle was highlighted, then we saw departures from the team the likes of which we haven’t seen before. It’s good to have the positive vibes flowing again.
Everyone’s favorite beat writer, Ed Bouchette from the PG talks up the Steelers 2nd round pick Le’Veon Bell as a positive addition to the Steelers’ running back corps. Ed reminds us how last offseason, the talk was about running the ball better and then the Steelers went out and really didn’t run the ball better at all. Not only that, but they also let Mewelde Moore go and drafted tiny Chris Rainey in his place. This offseason the Steelers can’t just talk about improving the running game, they actually have to do it this time. The team’s former #1 back Rashard Mendenhall is gone and the remaining crew certainly haven’t proven themselves as capable of handling the load on their own yet. Enter LaRod Stephens-Howling and Le’Veon Bell. Howling will most likely take over kick return duties but Bell is being talked up as the next great big, bruising, athletic Steelers-type halfback. Now Ed didn’t actually spell out the “Bell is the next Bettis” comparison, but most yinzers have already gone there anyway. I’m holding out hope for Bell because I have a soft spot for big, bruising, athletic Steelers-type halfbacks. But right now that’s just optimism.
The Steelers blog Steelers Depot ran what they called their “Second Annual Max Starks Tin Foil Hat Post” this morning to predict that for yet another season, Max Starks (who is still unsigned) will ride in on his white stallion and shore up that tackle position he’s so well known for. The posts notes how on the Steelers website, the number 78 has not been assigned to any of the draft picks or undrafted free agents, just as it was a year ago when Starks ended up signing right before training camp and then proceeded to take every offensive snap for the team. We all know Ben loves him some Starks, as he just might be sporting that #78 in OTA’s if Starks isn’t re-signed again by then. They also remind us that the numbers #64 and #98 haven’t been assigned yet either.
What are your thoughts, Steeler Nation? Do you think Bell is the next Bettis? Do you think Starks will be back on the roster this season?