It's time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to find a late-round running back that can get the four yards a carry to ice the game. Head Coach Mike Tomlin refers to his style of football as winning the war of attrition.
But the fact remains the Steelers haven't won a game that way consistently since Jerome “Bussie” Bettis dominated the Chicago Bears in 2005. The days of tough hard-earned yards at the end of the game are long gone. And it is time to find that missing piece.
Willie Parker's toughness is underrated, he isn't the grind-it-out kind of back. “Rocket” Rashard Mendenhall appears to have all of the talent to be the lead dog in a running attack, but his style is best suited for an spread offense which isn't conducive to winding time off the clock.
Here are two late round possibilities that would fit nicely into the Steelers organization.
First up is Shonn Greene. He’s a 5'10" running back from the University of Iowa and weighs 227 lbs. This guy reminds me of Barry Foster.
When you watch this kid play he has a low center of gravity and always initiates contact. In the four games I saw Iowa play, I never saw him fall backward at the end of a play.
The knock on Greene is that his nastiness sometimes gets him into trouble off the field. He isn't a "gang banger", no domestic issues, and there doesn't appear to be issues with drugs or drinking.
The issue, according to most scouts, is that he has trouble "turning it off.”
Well sign me up.
His off-field “problems” and a slow 4.6-second performance in the 40-yard dash will cause Greene to slide into the third round. If I see him on the board, I would grab him.
The true late-round sleeper pick is Frank "The Tank" Summers, a 5’9” running/full back weighing in at 240 lbs. He wasn't invited to the Combine, but he tested at or near the top of those that were invited.
Summers took the slight personally and went out and showed his athleticism during his Pro-Day. He has a great attitude and has the measureables (4.55; 30 reps; 34.5 vert.; 9'5" broad; 73.92 Kirwan Evaluation Index).
He has soft hands and is willing to play anywhere...including defense. Summers had a very good interview with the Steelers and scouts left him saying that he was a “Jerome the Bus” junior. That's good enough for me.
He’s a bit under the radar and probably looks like a fullback to most teams, so he will go late on day two of the draft. I'd take him in the fifth just to be sure you get him.
Here's hoping one of these two guys fall into the Steelers’ laps, so that they can get back to winning games going away. After all my heart can't take all of these late-game heroics.