Because it's -never- too early to talk about next year, let's quickly get in to something that's been on my mind for a while now. With the Bus heading out to pasture, Duce Staley not proving to be healthy enough to be relied upon, and Willie Parker still working in to a role as an "every down back," the once-deep Pittsburgh backfield is looking awfully slim heading in to next year. What should the Steelers do in the offseason, if anything, to address this?
The first option would be to hand the full-time job to Parker and let Verron Haynes be his backup. While Parker is a talented and useful player, this doesn't seem like the long-time solution to me. I'm not convinced that Parker is someone you can count on for a full season of full-time running duties. He's best utilized in tandem with someone more powerful and durable. By the end of the year, and into the playoffs, he was clearly showing signs of fatigue.
The other option is to draft a running back. Given the Steelers offseason needs, which we'll cover extensively here on the blog, I think this has got to be the highest priority. And given the Steelers preference to pound their opponents in to submission with a dominating and consistent run game, finding the right fit will be instrumental in keeping the winning tradition going strong. So, who should they target?
This one's a no-brainer. The Steelers need to trade up to draft Lendale White of USC. Just a couple of years ago, the Steelers did the same thing to get their hands on Troy Polomalu, also of USC, incidentally, and we all know how that turned out. Lendale White can have the same impact on the offense that Polomalu has had on the defense. It would be, in my mind, a tremendously great move for the Steelers, and I intend to clamor for it from now until draft day.
So let the calls begin: DRAFT LENDALE WHITE!