At what point is taking any running back, not just Alabama's Eddie Lacy, worth a pick for the Steelers?
We're going to play with a new kind of feature here. I often read through comments looking to see what you all are talking about and finding interesting. Based on that, I sometimes come up with different things to write about. I'm going to pick out a comment and respond to it in a post. Doesn't need to be earth-shattering, but something insightful, witty, entertaining, interesting, provocative, what-have-you. I'll select these based on what I see and based on what you guys Rec, so make some stuff green and we'll feature them moving forward.
We'll start with a comment from SteelerMike, who responded in the 2013 NFL Mock Draft post from Feb. 4 talking about Alabama running back Eddie Lacy and the possibility the Steelers kick his tires in the upcoming draft:
I have seen his spin move...trouble is that's all he does in the open field. Don't get me wrong...the kid can play and I think he's pretty dam good...I just don't think he's the right fit for us.
Also, someone raised this point about "Bama RB's...and it makes you go hmmm...are they so good because of how dominant their Oline is? That's a valid question...Mark Ingram hasn't done much. Trent Richarson had a decent season, but was it worthy of the #3 pick? If you looked at the stats of Doug Martin, he clearly was the better value for TB in the later part of the first. Not saying these are not good backs...but I think, in large part, their success, is largely due to the absolute dominance of 'Bama's Oline.
Which makes me think...we need to be looking at their OLineman and not their RB's...Warmack, B. Jones etc...I'd much rather of Jones in the 2nd than Lacy.
by SteelerMike on Feb 4, 2013 9:38 PM CST reply actions
Lots of good stuff in there .I get your point, Mr. SteelerMike, and agree with it, I just think it's applicable to all running backs - which is the reason their value is falling so far.
Ingram plays on a team hell-bent to throw the ball. He's a plug-n-play guy, like they all are, in that offense. Not suggesting that's unwise, I'd throw the ball a lot too if Drew Brees was my quarterback.
I just think teams that run the ball well have three things going for it. A strong offensive line, an outstanding group of running backs and a great scheme. And it's all of those things to varying levels, but all three pieces must be there. No back is good if a line can't block. No line can block for a guy who runs into their asses and falls down. Great lines and backs don't do much if they aren't played to their strengths. The Steelers are desperately trying to find that combination.
While they've spent way too much on the offensive line lately, I think that Warmack kid is going to be an outstanding player. Wouldn't be surprised to see them address the interior offensive line again with an earlier pick.
What do you think of them maybe looking to run zone a bit more this coming season? I think much of that effort (mostly shut down after Week 5) went by the wayside because Starks wasn't athletic enough. Get Adams in there, though, with Pouncey moving behind DeCastro...that could be a formidable weapon if they get a back with good vision (read, better than Dwyer or Redman) behind it. Lots of college teams run zone exclusively, and the backs in some of those offenses had outstanding seasons but won't grade well at the Combine (which does everything but test the vision of a running back).
I give you Alfred Morris, who, despite running in a "gimmicky" offense, outrushed our entire team last year. He was a sixth round pick who doesn't have great speed or quickness, but great vision. He ran zone in college, and stepped in right away to the system.
They can get someone in later rounds who understands the zone concept backwards and forwards. Could be a huge add. I will say, though, it's far more likely they'll look at running backs with return ability first and foremost. They got a pretty decent kick returner in Chris Rainey last year, but ideally, they'll want to bring in a rookie who can handle both kicks and punts in order to keep their regular guys fresh.