Houston Texans Running Back Steve Slaton Could Fit Well as a Pittsburgh Steeler

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2011

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 07:  Running back Steve Slaton #20 of the Houston Texans is tackled by Nick Eason #93, Lawrence Timmons #94, James Harrison #92, Travis Kirschke #90 and James Farrior #51 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 7, 2008 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The logic that is emanating from the Houston Chronicle is clear.

Former starting running back Steve Slaton only carried the ball 19 times last season, for the sum total of 93 yards. Entering this coming season (whenever that may be) Slaton sits fourth on the depth chart behind Arian Foster, Derrick Ward and returning sophomore back Ben Tate.

The 2008 third round pick was a star in his rookie season rushing for over 1,282 yards as well as catching 50 passes but severely struggled with fumbles in the 2009 season that eventually cost him his starting place.

Slaton's contract is in its final year and, according to Scout.com, is worth $550,000 for this year.

All of these facts have led to a report from the Chronicle claiming that the Texans are looking to trade the 25-year-old.

Slaton could definitely land with the Steelers.

Mewelde Moore, the team's current third down back, is out of contract while Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are not suited to the role. Redman is a bruising back who can pass block but doesn't offer much elusiveness in the open field. Dwyer is potentially more explosive but he played fullback in an option offense in college and as a result really struggled in blocking drills during training camp last year.

The only thing holding Slaton back is his problem holding onto the football. Mewelde Moore has fewer fumbles (8) in seven years than Slaton has (10) in his three-year career. He has also not fumbled the ball once since his first season in Pittsburgh.

The reason Slaton could be a success in Pittsburgh is that he would carry very little of the load. He would simply be a third down/passing situation back because Redman or Dwyer could spell Mendenhall when he tires.

His fumble problem came about because he was carrying the Texans running game almost completely. He does not have the physical strength to withstand that kind of relentless punishment.

His limited role coupled with a Tiki Barber/Adrian Peterson type of coaching focus could resolve Slaton's biggest weakness.

Running backs are a dime a dozen these days. The Texans, at very best, will be hoping for a fifth-round draft choice from another team and even that is optimistic considering Santonio Holmes went for a fifth-round selection last year with one year left on his contract.

A sixth- or seventh-round draft pick from the Steelers does not equate to an Antonio Brown or Brett Keisel every year. There are more Shaun Nuas (2005) and Mike Humpals (2008) than fans would like to believe in the later rounds.

Taking a chance on a guy like Slaton who has shown flashes in the NFL is no riskier than selecting a back that has shown flashes in college. In fact, it could be even safer because to an extent, you know what you are getting.

Then again, they could just re-sign Mewelde Moore, who is surprisingly only 28 years of age and a cult hero in the 'Burgh.