It’s basically a foregone conclusion to the Pittsburgh Steelers that Rashard Mendenhall‘s days are over as part of the team. The free agent-to-be, will be hitting the open market and not looking back. His departure will leave the Steelers with a changing of the guard at running back heading into next season.
The most likely candidate to be the starting running back in 2013 is of course - Jonathan Dwyer. The three-year veteran should be in line to be the opening day starter, given any setbacks or other major acquisitions.
Dwyer had a decent 2012 campaign, rushing for 623 yards and two touchdowns in limited action. At only 24-years of age, there seems to be plenty of upside with Dwyer, and if given adequate opportunities, his numbers will only increase.
At the same time, Pittsburgh is likely to pick up another running back via the NFL Draft. This won’t happen in the first round, but it’s a possibility in rounds two through four. While this year’s draft doesn’t have any ‘lottery’ type running backs, there appears to be plenty of depth early on for Pittsburgh to consider.
Names like Montee Ball and Le’veon Bell will be thrown around as potential targets for the Steelers. Any back they can draft that’s in the same ballpark as Ball and Bell, would be a win for Pittsburgh.
Off-season competitions figure to be fierce this summer in the Steel City, because even though Dwyer is the favorite, who’s to say a talented rookie couldn’t come in and give him a run for his money.