Benny Snell vs Anthony McFarland for the Steelers lead role in 2021

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Curt Popejoy
·2 min read
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The downfall of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 season was directly related to the team’s inability or unwillingness to run the football. The debate over blame will go on for months but some of the responsibility falls directly on the shoulders of the team’s running backs.

Incumbent starting running back James Conner is set to be an unrestricted free agent and frankly I’m not convinced he has done enough to warrant another contract in Pittsburgh.

This puts Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland at the top of the depth chart and honestly the two backs couldn’t be more different.

But if we assume the Steelers aren’t going to commit a top draft pick to a feature running back, which one is a better option for the Steelers?

Snell has the clear advantage in experience. Snell is entering his third year with the Steelers and has been Conner’s primary backup since he was a rookie. Snell has 794 rushing yards, most gained in a starting role when Conner has been injured and a meager 3.6 yards per carry. Snell is a near-physical clone of Conner and offers a similar package of skills.

Meanwhile, McFarland, who the Steelers drafted in 2020 is in stark contrast to Benny Snell football. McFarland is smaller, quicker and a true homerun threat in the run game. McFarland also comes from the University of Maryland. The Steelers new offensive coordinator is Matt Canada, who was McFarland’s head coach at Maryland. See where I’m going with this?

I know many Steelers fans are clamoring for a new running back in the upcoming draft. This might just be wishful thinking as McFarland is the ideal fit for what Canada wants to do with the rushing offense and McFarland knows the system perfectly.

But I want to pass the question off to you. Who is going to be the Steelers lead back in 2021? Let us know in the comments.

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