The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 of the 2019 season, which switched their offense to the ground. James Conner dealt with an assortment of injuries and the Steelers run game collapsed. Their painful offensive production in 2019 wasn’t just due to Roethlisberger’s absence, and the Steelers appear prepared to add a running back with their first pick at 49th overall, per beat writer Andrew Filliponi.
Filliponi believes that back will be Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, and if he makes it to the 49th pick, there is a great chance that happens. At the combine, Taylor put up a 4.39 40, solidifying himself as the likely No. 1 running back taken in the draft. In the past, that might have meant a sure first round pick, but running backs have been devalued in the NFL and teams are worried about investing too much draft capital in them. So, there is a chance the Steelers can still get him in the second round.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been one of the stronger run blocking lines in the league, but as the offense fell apart last season, so did the lines success. A healthy Roethlisberger and Taylor would turn that around quickly.
Conner’s ability is still that of a starting back in this league, but if he can’t be trusted to be on the field, the Steelers will need to at least get him some competition. If it’s not Taylor, they should have some other good names to choose from at that point in the draft, as the majority of teams will pass on running backs in the first round. And, whoever they choose, could easily become a top fantasy back in Pittsburgh.