Should the Steelers consider drafting a running back high in the draft in 2007?
Despite the impressive track record both Pittsburgh and others have had with a strong two-back system, this is not the year for the Steelers to spend a high draft choice on a tailback.
Truthfully, it's the least valuable draft choice you can make in the NFL. The Steelers themselves offer a perfect example of why a high draft choice on a tailback is, relatively speaking, a waste. Fast Willie Parker, we all know, was an undrafted rookie free agent out of North Carolina. (Shocking, I know, that John Bunting got fired.)
Why bother drafting a premium running back when you're just as likely to find one in the late rounds or free agent scrap heap?
Pittsburgh won't - I assure you. There is some logic to the idea of getting a more reliable counterpart for Willie than Dookie, but I suspect Pittsburgh will either give Davenport one more season as Willie's colleague, or look to fill that need late in the draft or via a (relatively cheap) free agent.
I'd prefer the latter. Davenport was pretty awful this season, and both his DVOA and DPAR were forgettable. I do think that hurt Parker's production a bit, too, and should be something the Steelers think hard about in the offseason. While drafting a tailback high would be a mistake, going after a free agent to help spell Parker would be a terrific idea.
I'm open to suggestions on what kind of player that would be, but I think the ideal guy would be in the mold of the New York Giants' Brandon Jacobs - a punishing between-the-tackles runner who could help Pittsburgh on the third downs, while saving Parker from the inevitable wear and tear of being the go-to guy.