Even though the Steelers have two running backs on their practice squad in addition to Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer backing up Le’Veon Bell on the 53-man roster, the team is reportedly working out Ray Graham later today according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) November 19, 2013
The UDFA had spent the previous two weeks on Houston’s active roster before he was let go by club, and I for one am not surprised that the Steelers are “kicking the tires” on the former Pitt Panther.
Graham enjoyed a very successful college career at Pitt, and was well on his way to having a breakout junior season in 2011 before he sustained a right knee injury during the team’s eighth game of the year. At that point, Graham had already rushed for 948 yards and nine touchdowns. To his credit, the former Panther rebounded from his injury last fall and rushed for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns.
While Graham is not necessarily a large-framed back (5’9″ 199 lbs.) by any means, his success as a runner in a zone-blocking scheme and versatility as a pass-catcher (98 catches during collegiate career) could make him a worthy practice squad gamble for the Steelers if he is deemed healthy enough to sign.
If the team does elect to sign Graham to their practice squad, that will likely signal that either Alvester Alexander or George Winn could be in danger of being waived. Although the Steelers could get rid of someone else to make room for Graham, keeping three running backs on their practice squad would make little to no sense.
Like “NPC” on Facebook: Nice Pick, Cowher