Ranking the Running Game, Pt. 21: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Ranking the Running Game, Pt. 21: Pittsburgh Steelers

Part 21 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise. Going into the 2007 off-season there was a tremendous amount of anxiety around the team and it appears that there will be just as much if not more this off-season. Last year, the question on every ones’ mind was will new Head Coach Mike Tomlin make sweeping changes? The answer to that question proved to be not exactly. Having a years’ worth of experience as a head coach it wouldn’t be surprising if some bigger changes are in the   Steelers’ future. The Steelers’ have major questions at several positions groups, the offensive line in particular, which really was a shell of its former self the majority of the season. The Steelers’ won the AFC North division with a 10-6 record and hosted a wild-card playoff game, losing to the Jaguars 31-29. The Steelers’ in terms of total yardage out-gained the Jaguars 340 yards to 239 yards. The Steelers’ also won the time of possession battle. The killer for the Steelers was losing the turnover battle 4-2.  The Steelers’ needs going into free agency & the draft were OT, OG, CB, C and DE. In free agency the Steelers’ signed former Panther C Justin Hartwig and former Viking RB Mewelde Moore. The Steelers’ as a team rushed for 136 yards per game, which was the third-ranked running game in the NFL.

 

 
  • Willie Parker: 5’ 10”, 209 lbs, 321 Att, 1,316 Yards, 4.1 YPC Avg, 2 TD’s
  • Najeh Davenport: 6’ 1’, 247 lbs, 107 Att, 499 Yards, 4.7 YPC Avg, 5 TD’s
  • Carey Davis: 5’ 10”, 225 lbs,  17 Att, 68 Yards, 4.0 YPC Avg.
  • Gary Russell: 5’ 11”, 215 lbs,  7 Att, 21 Yards, 3.0 YPC Avg.
  • Billy Latsko: 5’ 10’, 230 lbs.   rookie free agent from Florida
  • Justin Vincent: 5’ 10”, 219 lbs. rookie free agent from Louisiana State
Willie Parker carries the load rushing for the Steelers’, Parker led the NFL in rushing until his right fibula was broken in the 15th game. He’s rushed for more than 1,200 yards in three consecutive seasons and gives the Steelers’ big-play capability.  The Steelers’ need a power back who can get them short yardage. That was supposed to handled by Najeh Davenport, but he was up and down in that area. There was never confidence that the Steelers’ could run out the clock with a lead - this was one reason the team lost games late on four occasions, including the playoffs. The Steelers don’t have a need to draft a running back. However, the offensive line will more than likely be the 1st round selection Brandon Albert, Jeff Otah are good fits. Later in the draft Robert Felton, King Dunlap are also good fits. The Steelers’ need new to unearth another gem at the DE position; Kenny Iwebema & Johnny Dingle are good fits.

 

The question for the Steelers’: The health of Aaron Smith? The Steelers’ tend to mix their coverage’s but will we see more cover-2 & cover-3 this season?

 
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