Updated: Jul 7, 2021
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
The Steelers needed to upgrade the running back position significantly this offseason, and they did so by selecting Najee Harris at 24th overall in this year's draft. He's the bell-cow running back that they've craving for, and the expectations are certainly high for the Alabama product. BetMGM currently has Harris having the second-best odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 6-1.
While Harris is receiving all the attention, the other running backs on the Steelers' roster have really become an afterthought.
Benny Snell Jr. and Jaylen Samuels haven't shown much in their young careers, and the jury is still out 2020 fourth-round pick Anthony McFarland Jr. Kalen Ballage is a journeyman. It's expected that Snell would be the No. 2 running back behind Harris this year, but CBS Sports believes that the third-year running back could be on the chopping block.
"Snell is hoping to level up in 2021, but now he'll have a more difficult time doing it," Patrick Walker of CBS Sports wrote. "With James Conner and the Steelers parting ways in free agency, Snell was set to have a shot at landing the RB1 job, but then the club selected Najee Harris in the first round. That immediately torpedoes any chance of Snell being seen as anything more than a rotational piece, and his struggles in short-yardage situations aren't exactly helping his cause, either. Snell isn't exactly a throwaway after delivering just under 400 yards with four touchdowns in 2020, but that could also be viewed as having some trade value as well."
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. If the Steelers were to trade Snell, I can't imagine them getting anything but a late round pick.