Steelers draft capsule
This is the third of seven Pittsburgh Steelers position-by-position analyses for the 2019 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday:
Currently on roster: James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds, Malik Williams, Ralph Webb
Last five drafts: Conner was a third-round pick in 2017 and rushed for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns last season in Le’Veon Bell’s absence while also catching 55 passes. Samuels, a fifth-round pick last year, got his NFL career off to a nice start with 56 carries and 26 catches. Dri Archer was a third-round pick in 2014 and was a bust.
Top running backs available: Josh Jacobs, Alabama; Damien Harris, Alabama; Miles Sanders, Penn State; David Montgomery, Iowa State; Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
The Steelers might select: Harris or Sanders in the second round or Temple’s Ryquell Armstead, Ohio State’s Mike Weber, Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams, Oklahoma’s Justice Hill or Miami’s Travis Homer in the middle rounds.
Analysis: With Bell signing with the New York Jets, the Steelers will more than likely select a running back in this year’s draft. Conner has done a solid job, but durability is a concern. Plus, it would benefit the Steelers to have options in the backfield, much like many NFL teams have. Samuels could be a third-down back for them, but having someone like Harris or Sanders to pair with Conner would help Steelers fans start to forget about Bell. They would probably have to take either Harris or Sanders with their second-round pick, if they’re still available. The Steelers have two third-round picks, a fourth and a fifth, so if they don’t grab a running back in the second round, they better get one before the draft reaches its later stages.
Currently on roster: Roosevelt Nix
Last five drafts: Fullback is not a position the Steelers have needed to address in the draft.
Top fullbacks available: Trevon Wesco, West Virginia; Alec Ingold, Wisconsin
The Steelers might select: None
Analysis: Nix is a good special teams player who does the job as a lead blocker whenever he is called upon. He is signed for three more years, so don’t expect the Steelers to try and replace him this year. They could sign someone like Ingold, though, as a priority free agent to add some competition in training camp.
Coming Sunday: Receivers
— Buck Frank