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OL vs 1st round RB Pick - dbsfgyd1 - 09-05-2021

On another forum, much of the offseason discussion centered around the Steelers about drafting Nagee Harris as opposed to a blue chip OL. It seem like the majority of posters seem to think that a blue chip running back is more important.

IMO, it’s easier, more effective, providing  more stability, and much less expensive to build a great OL using a less than blue chip fungible back. Needless to say I’ve been tarred and feathered for speaking heresy. 

No doubt Harris is a great talent, but how many are really expecting him to be a once in a life time running back? Sanders? Pettersen? Smih and the like? I’ll agree he is better than any of the other options the Steeler had on the team. I’ll also agree the Running back position needed improvement, but in the end, Harris (or the concept of similar talent) is a great back, but in the wrong draft considering the priorities of the team.

So what do I mean? Number one absolute best example is  the running back that still holds the Steeler single season rushing yardage record holder that has held it for 26 years, Barry Foster. Now as much as I liked Barry Foster, I think it’s safe to say  there are very few that would consider him a once in a lifetime talent. No, pretty much he was an average back that put up some pretty big numbers. 

But how can an average back put up those kind of results?

Thanks to this site and our host Tim McMillen, the evidence is right here with the MP3s which  we have access. For example get a good look at the 2004  season, in particular, the playoff game vs the Cleveland Browns. 

This was not the bungling Browns, this was the Browns now known as the the Ravens coached by that guy up in New England that happens to know a thing or two about football. Not to mention their defense coordinator was another coach nobody knows, Nick Saban. 

This game is a classic example as to why you build an OL before spending draft assets on a first round draft pick. There was ZERO, nada, nothing,  the Browns could do. The Steelers just pounded the ball down their throats.

Truth be told, after reviewing the 2004 season, Barry Foster’s Mother could have put up 1,600 yards behind that OL. They were that good. Further, adding yardage that Bam Morris put up the Steelers had almost a NFL historical record level rushing attack. 

And what does that portend for the 2021 Steelers? As I said. Harris is no joke. Unfortunately he’a going to be spending a fair about of time running into back side  his own linemen. Not doubt he will make some plays without much support,  even great plays that will testify to his abilities, but will it significantly move the proverbial needle? IMO, it’s like spending a boatload on a NASCAR level engine but strapping to to a Yugo.

The good news is Ben should be able to bail us out of a few games like he has in the past when things bog down. Hopefully that will keep us in the hunt for a playoff spot until the OL gels, and I do think it will. Just don’t expect it to be a bunch of world beaters.