James Conner has been a Pittsburgh staple. From beating cancer and from helping bridge the gap of the running game after the departure of Le’Veon Bell. However, his contract is now up, and he is potentially on the way out of Pittsburgh to greener pastures. The running game this year has been atrocious. However, I do not know if this is the fault of the running backs.
It is a combination of personnel and coaching. This year, the offense has been terrible. I think most of that stems from the offensive coordinator. However, other than bad play calling, the offensive line has been terrible, and I feel as if our running backs are not to be blamed for that. I think with competent play-calling and good offensive line play, James Conner could potentially be a perfect bridge running back.
Let me explain, this year he started off poorly, and after recovering from that stumble he posted some decent stat lines. However, the only problem was, they were inconsistent. Still, most of that is due to the offensive line who gets destroyed on every play. It is hard to watch at times. At some point, you understand why Ben Roethlisberger cannot hang in the pocket. It is because he is getting people all up in his face.
In his short career with the Steelers, he has 2,302 yards and 22 touchdowns. Some respectable numbers. He also added nearly 1,000 yards through the air. I would be okay with him coming back on a team-friendly deal and going into the draft looking for a potential replacement. Still, having James in Pittsburgh would be a good thing. I think he should retire here. However, he cannot be the only guy. He is not a bell cow, that is for sure.
In the draft, if the Steelers end up not selecting a running back in the first round, they should look for an offensive tackle. Such as Alex Leatherwood from Alabama and then use a second or third-round pick trying to find a generational talent at running back. Just bolstering our offensive line would be huge for the Steelers. I think the Steelers need to rebuild their offense some. However, I would like James Conner to be there. He should be cheap, and it would be nice to see a familiar face on this offense that could look very different in a couple of years.