The Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back situation is anything but certain heading into the 2018 NFL Draft. Le’Veon Bell has been given the exclusive rights franchise tag for a second straight year, and Kevin Colbert said himself the draft can change everything, in regards to the ongoing contract talks between the two sides.
With that out of the way, it should be noted the Steelers have shown a tremendous amount of interest in LSU running back Derrius Guice. The team met with him prior to LSU’s Pro Day, and other reports show other meetings at the NFL Scouting Combine. The interest is there, and the debate on whether Guice will, or won’t, be available when the Steelers pick at No. 28 continues, but let’s put that small, yet huge, factor aside.
As a prospect, would Guice be the next great Steelers running back?
Purely as a runner, he certainly brings a different set of skills to the table compared to Le’Veon Bell. Bell is known for his patience, while Guice is known for his downhill style and punishing would-be tacklers. The thought of Guice and James Conner as a 1-2 punch in the backfield would be enough to make defensive backs think twice about coming into the box to make a tackle in the open field.
However, for as great as Guice is as a runner, he struggles in both pass blocking and pass catching. Two skills which are required to be a full-time running back in the NFL, especially with the Steelers. While Guice’s style might be a change-up to what Bell brings to the table, Bell’s overall ability to pass block, as well as run routes and catch the football are nearly unparalleled.
This is where the thought of a rookie coming in and making fans forget about Bell is nearly laughable. Could the Steelers win without Bell and a combination of Guice and Conner? Sure, but that has a lot to do with the franchise quarterback, a stout offensive line and a ridiculously deep wide receiving corps. This isn’t taking anything away from Bell or Guice, but merely stating actual facts.
Take a look at the overview of Guice, per his NFL Draft Profile:
Evaluating Guice requires settling in for two full seasons of tape study as he was only healthy a fraction of the 2017 season. While Guice has some elusiveness and long speed, much of his success comes from his furious running style and ability to create yardage after contact. Guice’s yards per touch was two yards higher over his first two seasons compared to last year. Like Leonard Fournette the year before, teams may be willing to lock in on his sophomore tape to create their evaluations and grades. Guice’s running style could lead to a shorter career, but he has a chance to make a big splash early.
The Steelers are certainly interested in Guice, and if available at No. 28 it would make for some compelling television as the team would have to decide what to do with the available players, and positions, remaining.
If you haven’t already, check the awesome ‘Draft Crush’ Draft Profile above on Guice, and answer the following questions in the comment section below:
1. If Guice is available at No. 28, regardless of other prospects, do the Steelers take him?
2. Would drafting Guice spell the end of the road for Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh?
3. Is Guice the type of player the Steelers should consider trading up to get?