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Is Wendall Smallwood a diamond in the rough destined to make the Steelers’ roster?

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Continuing with part 72 of our 90ish-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man (now 80-,man) roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s take a look at one of the newest members of the roster:

Wendell Smallwood

Position: RB
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 208 lbs
College: West Virginia
Draft: 5th round, 153rd overall in 2016 (Eagles)

2019 Stats (Washington Football Team)

15 Games played
22 Attempts
81 Rushing Yards
9 Receptions
64 Receiving Yards

Contract remaining

Expires in 2021
$825,000 salary cap number (.4% of total cap)
$0 Dead money
$825,000 Savings if cut

Likelihood of making the roster

Possible, but unlikely. The Steelers don’t typically carry four running backs but considering their depth it appears they will stray from tradition. The final of the four running back spots could conceivably end up going three different ways. Jaylen Samuels has to be the favorite to win the spot as the incumbent but trailed off as the season progressed, Kerrith Whyte Jr. showed off his explosive ability, and Wendell Smallwood is the new guy on the block that has contributed for other organizations. Chances aren't in Smallwood’s favor but I can envision a scenario where he makes this team.

2020 projection

Let me start by saying I don’t think Smallwood will actually make this team, but I’ll give you a break down as if he does. As the fourth runner I don’t really see Smallwood receiving many snaps, Anthony McFarland Jr. will get the majority of passing down snaps, Benny Snell Jr. will play a lot of the short yardage snaps, and James Conner will play the part of the every down player. The cupboard will be bare for Smallwood, but he’ll get snaps whenever injuries inevitably occur. The fourth running back will need to pick up some special team snaps as well.

Projected stats:

12 Games played
9 Attempts
33 Rushing Yards
5 Reception
38 Receiving Yards


The Steelers running back room is currently sitting in an interesting spot. On one hand they still have an every down back that's possibly nearing the end of his tenure, but on the other hand they have two youngsters with contrasting styles that are primed to take over the position. The 2020 season feels like a transition year for the spot that will see James Conner concede the spot to the duo of Snell and McFarland. But then there's this other story line in which three players are duking it out just to remain in the NFL. Whoever wins the final spot probably features more prominently as a third runner in 2021, just don’t expect a lot from that person in 2020.

Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett -Cut
John Battle
Jordan Berry
Saeed Blacknall
Breon Borders
Chris Boswell
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Isaiah Buggs
Devin Bush
Deon Cain
Kam Canaday
Chase Claypool
Josiah Coatney -Cut
James Conner
Anthony Coyle
Jordan Dangerfield
Amara Darboh
Carlos Davis
David DeCastro
Christian DiLauro
Kevin Dotson
Bud Dupree
Eric Ebron
Terrell Edmunds
Trey Edmunds
Matt Feiler
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Zach Gentry
Ulysees Gilbert III
Derwin Gray
Joe Haden
J.C. Hassenauer
Quadree Henderson -Cut
Dewayne Hendrix -Cut
Cam Heyward
Alex Highsmith
Mike Hilton
Devlin Hodges
John Houston
Anthony Johnson
Diontae Johnson
Jarron Jones
John Keenoy
Tyree Kinnel -Cut
Christian Kuntz -Cut
Justin Layne
Leo Lewis
James Lockhart
Paxton Lynch
Dan McCullers
Vance McDonald
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Henry Mondeaux
Christian Montano -Cut
Alexander Myres
Steven Nelson
Spencer Nigh
Chuks Okorafor
James Pierre
Maurkice Pouncey
Kevin Rader
Dax Raymond
Ben Roethlisberger
Mason Rudolph
Jaylen Samuels
Tuzar Skipper