Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin fielded a question about drafting a quarterback on Monday and said “we’ll be excited about” the opportunity to add a talented player to their current group.
Tomlin also went the “bluntly honest” route and said that the team has every intention of being better on the ground than they were in 2019 whether they draft a running back or not. The downturn in their run game had a lot to do with injuries that limited James Conner to 10 appearances.
Conner was the focus of General Manager Kevin Colbert’s answer to the running back question.
“I always go back to James Conner had acute injuries in 2019. In 2018, he avoided that and put up a Pro Bowl season,” Colbert said, via the team’s website. “He’s still a young, ascending player, and when healthy, he’s an NFL Pro Bowl player. Again, that’s a hope. I know James will enter the season healthy, but you know, can we complement it, we’ll see. But I’m not going in thinking we don’t have a starter-capable runner because I know James Conner is.”
Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell, Kerrith Whyte and Trey Edmunds also return from last season’s team, but it seems clear that any decision to pass on additional backfield help will be predicated on a belief that Conner will return to form.