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Breaking Down the Running Back Position for the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster

June 23rd, 2014 at 9:41 PM
By Mark Mihalko

The Pittsburgh Steelers running game has been hot and cold over the past few seasons, mostly cold according to the majority of fans. Of course, the causes are many, no consistency from the backs, a battered offensive line, and questionable play calling. Although, there were signs of improvement in 2013, it is time for the Steelers to take the next step.

'pittsburgh steelers vs tenn. titians 9-13' photo (c) 2013, Paula Lively - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
There have been some changes in the backfield, some roster related and some schematic heading into 2014, which should see an improved rushing attack. Gone are Jonathan Dwyer (UFA), Felix Jones (UFA), and to this point LaRod Stephens-Howling (UFA), who missed almost all of 2013 with a torn ACL. Returning for the Steelers will be 2013 second-round selection Le’Veon Bell, who after a slow start came into his own in the Steelers backfield.

At a quick glance, it may not appear like their will be much of a roster battle, as the Steelers kept three running backs and one fullback on the roster in 2013. At this point, with the addition of bruiser LeGarrette Blount in free agency and speedster Dri Archer in the draft, the unit would appear to be set.

Bell will start the season as the starter. The bruising back from Michigan State has a complete skill set as a runner and receiver and excelled in all facets of the offense on the college level and proved his game will translate to the NFL with a solid rookie campaign.

His primary back up will be Blount, who left the New England Patriots and joined the Steelers earlier in 2014. The 6-0, 250-pounder should be a perfect compliment to Bell, as well as become a short-yardage weapon for the offense.

Archer is a wildcard. The diminutive back was the fastest player at the NFL scouting combine and could make an impact in different facets of the offense. A gifted receiver out of the backfield and a potentially dynamic return specialist, it will be interesting to see how he will be used in 2014. The big question mark 5-8, 173-pound frame can handle. 

At fullback, Will Johnson will likely win the job. The futures-contract signee in 2012 was solid in that role and should continue to develop in his third season in the league. In the end, the Steelers should keep five running backs in 2014.   

 

Name

Position

Height

Weight

Age

College

Archer, Dri

RB/WR

5-8

173

22

Kent State

Bell, Le’Veon

RB

6-1

230

22

Michigan State

Blount, LeGarrette

RB

6-0

250

25

Oregon

Johnson, Will

FB

6-2

238

24

West Virginia

Over the next few weeks, Steelers101 will break down every position, highlight training camp battles, and eventually have the complete 53-man roster as we see it today.

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Tags: Dri Archer, Football, LeGarrette Blount, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Will Johnson

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