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Two different outlets recently claimed that Benny Snell Jr. is in danger of being cut or traded by the Steelers before the 2021 season, but the third-year running back out of Kentucky is just continuing to grind and not listen to the outside noise.
"Honestly, I can say I’m taking it as a part of my journey," Snell said on Kentucky Sports Radio. "I never have settled and been comfortable, you know that. "This is my job now, you know. Another thing I keep in mind was the Steelers picked me; I didn’t pick the Steelers so I’m ride and dying about where I’m at. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work. I feel like, even on top of us having Najee, you can just do one back for the whole season and hustle. I definitely know that roads and big time moments are going to come up and I’m going to make sure I’m ready for them. I’m just keeping my head down and working.”
Snell also mentioned the importance of getting reps with Ben Roethlisberger during OTAs and minicamp.
“I know Big Ben wanted to start throwing and getting connections with guys early so I wanted to make sure I was back for that,” Snell said. “I’m locked in to learn and take in any type of knowledge or understanding that he says because he’s been around. He knows what it takes. It’s good to have such a veteran player, like you said, a future Hall-of-Famer on my team and I value that and I take note of that every day.”
In two seasons since being drafted out of Kentucky in the fourth round, Snell has rushed for 794 yards on 219 carries and six touchdowns. He has just a 3.6 per carry carry average, however. The biggest issue with Snell is that he's just not very explosive, and he doesn't do one particular thing really well.
And with drafting Najee Harris in the first round of this year's draft, the Steelers are all-in on Harris being their featured back. So, Snell is certainly expendable, which is why Brooke Pryor of ESPN believes Snell is on the roster bubble heading into training camp.
"Snell had moments when he looked to be the Steelers' next primary back, most notably in the 2020 season opener against the Giants, when he racked up 113 yards on 19 carries in James Conner's absence," Pryor wrote. "But he never came close to matching those numbers the rest of the season and wound up averaging just 3.3 yards per carry with four touchdowns. In addition to drafting Najee Harris, the Steelers also signed veteran RB Kalen Ballage in the offseason. And while Ballage, who averaged 4.3 yards per carry with the Jets and 3.3 YPC with the Chargers last season, isn't going to be fighting Harris for the starting job, he could push Snell for a roster spot."