It'd be unwise to simply go off media hype in regards to position battles in the preseason. That said, it's still hard to ignore the accolades being given to Steelers rookie running back Le'Veon Bell.
Add in the fact he's a second round pick, and the obvious statement is Bell will make the Steelers' roster in 2013. Assuming the Steelers will want to continue using a fullback, Will Johnson is on the team. LaRod Stephens-Howling provides change-of-pace flexibility as well as special teams contributions. That's three.
How likely are the Steelers to keep two other running backs, both at $1.3 million for the 2013 season?
It's not a great bet.
Between Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Baron Batch, it'd be a surprise of two of those three made it. If it is two, though, Batch's contract is considerably cheaper, and sometimes roster decisions at that level of the depth chart are made for such reasons.
If it's between Dwyer and Redman, they're going to have to show cause in the first two preseason games, starting with Saturday's preseason opener against the Giants.
Redman torched the Giants last season, cranking out 147 yards on 26 carries, including a 28-yard rush on the Steelers' last competitive play of the game, forcing the Giants to tap out.
Dwyer led the team in rushing, and has looked like the feature back many thought he eventually would be after being selected in the sixth round in 2010 - much lower than many predicted.
Both have restricted free agent contracts, giving them approximately $1.3 million this season that would not count against the cap if either were released before the start of the regular season. Both showed, at times, they could be featured backs in the NFL. Both showed why they'd be on the roster bubble.
One of them will have to stand out in these next two games, because after that, it's likely the other will be gone. Keeping one feature back (Bell) and a change-of-pace, versatile back (Stephens-Howling) and a fullback would comprise much of the team's game day depth chart. Having a back-up who can spell the feature back is the prudent thing to do.
Paying another back-up feature back $1.3 million seems excessive. That isn't to say it's impossible, but without a compelling reason to do so - a reason that will have to be generated now instead of off a reliance of yesterday's performances - it isn't likely to happen.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Matt Spaeth may have Lisfranc injury, could sideline him for 2013
- Steelers vs. Giants stream
- Steelers Training Camp Updates
- Steelers highest power ranking yet
- Burress set for surgery
- Keep an eye on the cornerbacks
- Big Blue View asks BTSC 5 Questions
- Steelers vs. Giants 2013: 5 Questions with Big Blue View
- Why Derek Moye will make the 2013 Steelers roster
- Steelers vs. Giants: Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have to separate themselves
- Adams on left and Gilbert on right may be what Steelers start in Week 1
- Steelers Training Camp Recap: Day 14 sees Roethlisberger throwing short often
- Plaxico Burress injury: Judging by available free agents, Burress's spot more likely to be filled internally
- Burress confirmed to have torn rotator cuff; possibly out for season
- Preseason Steelers vs. Giants: Seven players who need to shine in week one