clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Roster Breakdown: Running Back a position of concern

New, comments

Sure, the Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the best running backs in the league, but after Le’Veon Bell the cupboard is pretty bare.

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a fortunate team in a lot of ways. They have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, they have one of the league’s best at wide receiver and the most dynamic running back in the game.

Tough to complain when you have all of those things going for you, but when you look at the running back position, beyond Le’Veon Bell, you see a pretty empty cupboard.

That is the focus of this position breakdown, so time to look at the running back position as the team continues to forge further into the 2017 offseason.

Depth Chart:
Le’Veon Bell
Fitzgerald Toussaint
Brandon Brown-Dukes
Gus Johnson
Dreamius Smith
Trey Williams

Departures:
Karlos Williams (Released)

Acquisitions:
None

Question Marks:
UFA DeAngelo Williams
Bell staying healthy and out of trouble

...

Take a look at the above depth chart, and talk about a dreadful situation. Without Karlos Williams or DeAngelo Williams in the mix, the Steelers’ running back situation is extremely dire. If there was any doubt the team would be drafting a running back in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, you can eliminate that doubt immediately. Drafting a running back is no longer something the team could do, but has to do.

In my opinion, this all hinges on the team’s ability to re-sign DeAngelo Williams to a one or two-year contract. If you go into the regular season with a depth chart which reads: Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, drafted rookie RB and Fitzgerald Toussaint, you can be pretty happy about that stable of running backs. However, fail to bring back D-Will and you suddenly have a lot of pressure on Bell to withstand a ridiculous workload for a full 16-game season, something he has never done his his professional career.

Other than the depth chart itself, Bell recovering from his groin surgery, and staying out of trouble (i.e. — taking all his mandatory drug tests), should be the top priority for the team this offseason. If Bell wants a lucrative long-term contract, he needs to follow suit and show he is a changed man. No one trains harder than Bell, but longevity is based around staying healthy. The team changing their approach to the distribution of carries among the running backs would go a long way to helping Bell stay healthy.

There is a lot of going on inside the Pittsburgh Steelers backfield, and if a few key moves aren’t made, it could be a major cause for concern heading into the 2017 season.

Other 2017 Position Breakdowns:
Wide Receiver