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Does Benny Snell Deserve A Shot?

Steeler Nation

Administrator
Staff member
As we know, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a rough time running the football in 2020, especially towards the end of the year. They ranked dead last in running the football, and going into this off-season, offensive line and running back has been pegged as the Steelers biggest need.

I definitely agree with that sentiment. There’s been a debate going on about whether the Steelers should draft a running back early, names like Najee Harris and Travis Ettiene have been mentioned often in those discussions. The other side is advocating for drafting offensive line early and getting a running back later on or potentially in free agency. I have to say I see both arguments, but lean towards the offensive line side.

Not taking away from Harris or Ettine, both are first/second round pedigree players, but with a great offensive line you can help running backs out a lot, and get production out of guys you don’t need to spend that type of capital on. My question is, do the Steelers already have a guy that can get it done in Benny Snell?

I know many people’s first reaction, along with my own, is a resounding no. I believe this is in large part due to the performance from this past season from the running back group as a whole. As I mentioned, they finished dead last, with 84.4 rushing yards per game. Snell was the backup behind James Conner and ended the season with 111 attempts for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also added 10 catches for 61 yards.

These numbers definitely aren’t eye popping, but I decided to dig a little deeper and check the numbers for Snell. In doing so, I noticed when he gets the opportunity to carry the workload, he definitely elevates his play.

In 8 games where Snell has gotten 15 or more touches, he’s averaged 78.1 rushing yards per game. He has 3 touchdowns and 2 fumbles to go along with that, and Pittsburgh is 6-2 in those games.

Again, I’m not sold on him being the answer, 8 games is a small sample size, but those numbers aren’t exactly discouraging. If he were to be behind a bolstered offensive line, what’s to say he can’t build off of those numbers and get even better?

I still think adding running back depth is necessary however you do it, but this would allow the team to fill other needs early in the draft, and potentially save some cap space to sign or retain some free agents. Drafting a promising young back in third round and beyond could allow you to boost your offensive line and other needs, while still drafting a potential stud who can get some run behind Snell for the year.

This is all contingent on Snell producing at those numbers or better, and if the Steelers build the offensive line up this off-season. I think there’s still a chance they could draft someone like Harris if he’s on the board at 24 if they feel he’s too good to pass up.

But, if it were to line up, and the offensive line is replenished early in the draft and had the talent, does Snell deserve a chance? I think with a promising back up selected later in the draft, he just might get a crack at the starting spot.

What do you think, Steeler Nation? Does Snell deserve a chance? Or should he remain where he is as a backup? Let us know in the comment section below and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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Drink IRON City

Contributor whining about a tag
I like the optimism but don't think Benny can catch / run routs / work well for Canada's offense. He will be great depth but I see an investment needed.

Thanks for the thought provoking article Sean.

Salute the nation
 

Litos

Well-known member
How much would the ravens RB, edwards, cost ? The guy is a mauler and might be affordable, invest draft picks in top OT talent and bring a non expensive vet RB
 

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TDX27

Well-known member
At times he looks OK but then you have his fumble issues and the fact that he's a power back and he can't gain a yard when we need it. I just don't see him as starting material. I'd give McFarland more looks in OTA's and camp (if we have either) to see if there is anything there, especially with his jump from year 1 to year 2. If we draft a RB, he's our No. 1, at least he should be.
 

FSF

The Agile Financial
Snell isn’t big enough to be a power back, fast enough to be a speed back, or have great footwork to be a featured back.
 

Drink IRON City

Contributor whining about a tag
At times he looks OK but then you have his fumble issues and the fact that he's a power back and he can't gain a yard when we need it. I just don't see him as starting material. I'd give McFarland more looks in OTA's and camp (if we have either) to see if there is anything there, especially with his jump from year 1 to year 2. If we draft a RB, he's our No. 1, at least he should be.

I think McFarlands vision was a little questionable. He was also a little undecisive at times but maybe his step up to year two will help those things. Canada's "O" may help a whole bunch as well.



Salute the nation
 

Coryea

Nothing left to do but win the whole fucking thing
I think McFarlands vision was a little questionable. He was also a little undecisive at times but maybe his step up to year two will help those things. Canada's "O" may help a whole bunch as well.



Salute the nation
His vision was horrible, on a few occasions he cut right back into the defender instead of following his blocker.
 

Hines57

Deliver the Macallan
Snell's time to shine was this year when we realized Conner was soft and wasn't going to be a feature back for us. Snell couldn't elevate himself. Maybe the OL had some to do with that but I will say no. Let him play out his rookie contract and move on. Time to go back to the draft and reload at RB.
 

Drink IRON City

Contributor whining about a tag
Snell's time to shine was this year when we realized Conner was soft and wasn't going to be a feature back for us. Snell couldn't elevate himself. Maybe the OL had some to do with that but I will say no. Let him play out his rookie contract and move on. Time to go back to the draft and reload at RB.

and PLEASE, no projects. Just hand the ball and say those famous words of Al Bundy "let's ROCK".


Salute the nation
 

SteelerSask

Well-known member
Benny Snell will be a Steelers running back for sure next year. He likely will not be the lead back. In fact I hope he is not the lead back. That said, if they go Oline or outside shot QB in round 1 will they get a lead back in the draft?
 

Litos

Well-known member
As we know, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a rough time running the football in 2020, especially towards the end of the year. They ranked dead last in running the football, and going into this off-season, offensive line and running back has been pegged as the Steelers biggest need.

I definitely agree with that sentiment. There’s been a debate going on about whether the Steelers should draft a running back early, names like Najee Harris and Travis Ettiene have been mentioned often in those discussions. The other side is advocating for drafting offensive line early and getting a running back later on or potentially in free agency. I have to say I see both arguments, but lean towards the offensive line side.

Not taking away from Harris or Ettine, both are first/second round pedigree players, but with a great offensive line you can help running backs out a lot, and get production out of guys you don’t need to spend that type of capital on. My question is, do the Steelers already have a guy that can get it done in Benny Snell?

I know many people’s first reaction, along with my own, is a resounding no. I believe this is in large part due to the performance from this past season from the running back group as a whole. As I mentioned, they finished dead last, with 84.4 rushing yards per game. Snell was the backup behind James Conner and ended the season with 111 attempts for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also added 10 catches for 61 yards.

These numbers definitely aren’t eye popping, but I decided to dig a little deeper and check the numbers for Snell. In doing so, I noticed when he gets the opportunity to carry the workload, he definitely elevates his play.

In 8 games where Snell has gotten 15 or more touches, he’s averaged 78.1 rushing yards per game. He has 3 touchdowns and 2 fumbles to go along with that, and Pittsburgh is 6-2 in those games.

Again, I’m not sold on him being the answer, 8 games is a small sample size, but those numbers aren’t exactly discouraging. If he were to be behind a bolstered offensive line, what’s to say he can’t build off of those numbers and get even better?

I still think adding running back depth is necessary however you do it, but this would allow the team to fill other needs early in the draft, and potentially save some cap space to sign or retain some free agents. Drafting a promising young back in third round and beyond could allow you to boost your offensive line and other needs, while still drafting a potential stud who can get some run behind Snell for the year.

This is all contingent on Snell producing at those numbers or better, and if the Steelers build the offensive line up this off-season. I think there’s still a chance they could draft someone like Harris if he’s on the board at 24 if they feel he’s too good to pass up.

But, if it were to line up, and the offensive line is replenished early in the draft and had the talent, does Snell deserve a chance? I think with a promising back up selected later in the draft, he just might get a crack at the starting spot.

What do you think, Steeler Nation? Does Snell deserve a chance? Or should he remain where he is as a backup? Let us know in the comment section below and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

#SteelerNation

Support SteelerNation by clicking here to read the story..
I hope you don't mean like plaxico
 

slashsteel

Well-known member
Benny Snell will be a Steelers running back for sure next year. He likely will not be the lead back. In fact I hope he is not the lead back. That said, if they go Oline or outside shot QB in round 1 will they get a lead back in the draft?
I think you can get one in round 2/3 sure. I prefer in 2 but we'll see.
 

ExUSAF

Well-known member
After his showing in his bowl game and the pedigree of Matt Snell I thought we had something but he hasn't shown any capability of being a feature back.
 

Drink IRON City

Contributor whining about a tag
I like Benny Snell but he isn't the future. I want a RB that is not a project and can play football all three downs if need be. Mr. Snell will finish his rookie contrat here then more likely than not will be gone.



Salute the nation
 

keslerclan

Active member
Snell will be here and UNLESS we change scheme, playcalling and technique used by OL...NO running back on our roster, including any draft pick will go anywhere.

Most 1st round RBs only manage the same YPC output of the previous "starter" with few exceptions. If you get drafted to a team that already has a good running game, a top pick can make a difference. If not, the history suggests top RBs don't make much difference.

Last year Benny had a 1.4 YBC which was the result of stacked boxes and short yardage situations while JCs YBC was 2.4. Their collective YAC was virtually the same at 1.9-2.0 YAC
 

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