Pittsburgh is in desperate need of a feature back next season, and it is beginning to look like the only way they can do that is through the draft.
Sure, the Steelers have supposedly shown interest in free-agent running backs like Ahmad Bradshaw, but what the Steelers really need is a young back they can mold into the next Willie Parker (expecting anyone to be the next Jerome Bettis is a bit too lofty of a goal).
The Steelers’ ground game in 2012 was depressing. Jonathon Dwyer led the team with 623 yards, followed by Isaac Redman with 410 yards and Rashard Mendenhall with 182 yards. No Steelers running back scored more than two touchdowns.
Guess what the Steelers’ two longest rushes of 2012 were. You probably could have guessed a 34-yard breakout by Dwyer. No. 2: Byron Leftwich’s 31-yard run into the end zone in Pittsburgh’s first clash against the Baltimore Ravens.
When Leftwich has a longer run under his belt than any Steelers running back other than Dwyer, you know it is time for an overhaul.
Going into 2013, the only backs on Pittsburgh’s roster are Dwyer, Redman and Baron Batch. Mendenhall is now an Arizona Cardinal and the Steelers cut rookie Chris Rainey after he was arrested on charges of domestic violence.
The 2013 draft class does not contain any sure bets like Trent Richardson, but just about any back in the pool could potentially boost the Steelers’ pitiful rushing attack. At this point, it would be tough for them to make it any worse.