Stockblocked: Steelers loaded with pass blocking running backs

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman finished Nos 1 and 2 in Pro Football Focus's pass blocking stats for running backs, leaving a big challenge for rookie Le'Veon Bell

The Steelers are stocked at the running back position, just perhaps not in the way many anticipate.

It's ironic to suggest the Steelers, a generally downtrodden pass protecting team, drafted a running back to help alleviate the hits on its quarterback, especially considering the two they had last season, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, pass blocked better than nearly any other running back in the NFL (according to Pro Football Focus, they finished tied for third with Green Bay's Alex Green and Atlanta's Jacquizz Rodgers in halfback blocking).

Le'Veon Bell was drafted in the second round, and will compete against Redman and Dwyer for carries, but not until he can block, writes Tribune-Review reporter Mark Kaboly.

That's not an odd request. Younger running backs can't typically get on the field until they can - and are willing to - block. Bell isn't going to be an exception, but it's also one area in which he isn't likely to show a better skill set than his adversaries among the Steelers depth chart.

All three of them have good size, but technique is far more important. Just ask Baron Batch, likely the last running back on the depth chart, and could be on the outside looking in when training camp starts July 26. Batch, listed generously at 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, is a fierce blocker, if not an effective one.

Clearly, the Steelers admire such a trait, and again, Bell will be treated no differently. He's bigger but the question will be whether he'll have the footwork and intestinal fortitude to hang in against blitzing linebackers and free-rushing defensive ends and deliver a shot that will stop them in their tracks.

Only after he shows that will he be given a chance to elude those players with the ball in his hands.


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker