New Steeler Najee Harris got the "3-down back" label from GM Kevin Colbert on Thursday night. “He’s a three-down back that played in an NFL system,” Colbert said after taking Harris 24th overall. “His one hidden trait is that he finds invisible yards at that second level. There are times when you think he should be going down and he finds 6, 7, 8 yards. It is really exciting to get a three-down back and add him to the team.” This is a "3-down back" label we can buy into considering Harris will be competing for touches with Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland. Pittsburgh's offensive line figures to be a problem for Harris. But volume trumps all in fantasy football, and the rookie has a shot to finish top 10 in total touches this season.
The Steelers have signed RB Kalen Ballage to a 1-year deal, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Ballage lands in a backfield with plenty of opportunity currently available. We'll see, though, whether Pittsburgh adds a RB in the draft. We'd bet on the Steelers doing so, with the big question being how early. Ballage saw surprising touch volume with the Chargers last season, after injuries knocked out Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. But he averaged only 3.3 yards per rush and 5.0 per reception. If you want to take a shot on Ballage at the very end of best-ball drafts, there's little risk. But we'd hope to see more touches go to Anthony McFarland -- who sure looks like he has a higher ceiling -- than Ballage. Even Benny Snell would probably still be a better bet for carries on the current depth chart.
The Ravens had no new positive COVID tests on Saturday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and their game vs. the Steelers is still on for Tuesday night. QB Lamar Jackson, RB J.K. Dobbins and RB Mark Ingram -- along with a host of others -- will miss the game on the Baltimore side. Pittsburgh will be without RB James Conner.
Steelers RB Anthony McFarland sustained a concussion in Thursday's practice, according to The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. We'll see when the rookie is cleared, but he's off the redraft radar for now. Benny Snell will enter the season as Pittsburgh's #2 RB -- and the handcuff to James Conner.
The Steelers selected Maryland RB Anthony McFarland in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Watch McFarland’s 298-yard, 2-TD dismantling of Ohio State back in 2018 and you’d think he’s 1 of the top backs in this class. That was part of an impressive redshirt freshman season that saw him tally 1,034 yards on 7.9 yards per carry. 39 of his 131 carries went for 10+ yards that year. McFarland took a colossal step back this past season, though, battling through a high-ankle sprain and totaling just 614 yards on 114 carries (5.4 YPC). He’s also fairly inexperienced in the passing game, with only 24 catches across the past 2 years. But McFarland’s flashes are exciting. And the 5’8, 208-pounder confirmed his big-play ability with a 4.44-second 40 time at the Combine. He’s an intriguing addition to Pittsburgh’s backfield alongside James Conner, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels.