Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley

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James Conner may be a starter, he's not a finisher

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert doesn't think the Steelers NEED to add a starting running back in the 2020 draft.

He thinks James Conner can be that guy, "I'm not going in thinking we don't have a starter capable runner because James Conner is."

When Conner was healthy two years ago, he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He was explosive at times. He went to the Pro Bowl. His problem is that he's rarely healthy. Conner played in just 10 games in 2020 and was banged up in two others.

He missed time in his rookie campaign despite not having to shoulder the load. The healthiest he's been was in 2018, and he still missed 3 games.

James Conner IS a capable STARTER in the NFL. His problem is that he can't be trusted to finish a season. That's not good enough.

The Steelers should seriously consider taking a running back with the 49th pick in the draft. Maybe Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor will be there. How about Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU?

Even if that player didn't step in from day one, they could spell Conner or replace him when he's hurt. Mike Tomlin spoke to that today in a Zoom call with with local media.

"If we get an opportunity that can add a back to our current pool, then we'll be excited about that. We have every intention of running the ball better in 2020 than we did in 2019, whether we add a back or not."

They'll need to. They averaged 3.7 yards per carry last year and just 90 yards per game. Ben Roethlisberger, at 38 and coming off an elbow injury, shouldn't be expected to lead the league in passing again.

James Conner is a good player, but the best ability is availability. If there's a capable back available to the Steelers at pick 49, they should take him.

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