With eight picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers could still focus their attention on selecting a running back. Though I still stand firm on my prediction of the Steelers going after a linebacker in the first round, a wide receiver in the second, a tight end in the third, and a safety in the fourth, snagging a running back anytime after that could be in the team’s next move.
Since the start of the offseason, the Steelers have met with three free agent running backs; Ahmad Bradshaw, LaRod Stephens-Howling, and Beanie Wells, only to let each player leave the Steel City without an offer.
Currently, the Steelers have Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, and Baron Batch on their running back depth chart. Both Redman and Dwyer had significant playing time last season, but neither one proved to be a feature back. As for Batch, he had very little playing time.
If Pittsburgh waits until the fourth round to add to their running back corps, there should still be some high-quality backs on the board.
University of Florida running back Mike Gillislee would be a good addition to the Steelers’ running back-by-committee. Gillislee, who played behind former Steelers running back Chris Rainey while in Gainesville, is projected to go in the fourth or fifth round and is a shifty runner that has good acceleration.
Michael Ford out of LSU has good speed that Pittsburgh could benefit from on offense, as well as in the return game, and could be available in the sixth round.
Both Knile Davis of the University of Arkansas and Onterio McCalebb of Auburn University could be options for Pittsburgh in the final round of the draft if the running back position isn’t still addressed.
In the event that the Steelers do draft a running back, it should be safe to say that signing Bradshaw, Stephens-Howling, or Wells would not be in the plans for the 2013 season. Besides, it would probably be in Pittsburgh’s best interest to go with a rookie running back simply because it would fit their financial status.
Bottom line, the Steelers are in desperate need for a running back, and should do whatever they can to add one to their roster for next season.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google