Titan's running back Derrick Henry is the darling of the football world right now. He's got 377 rushing yards and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry while the Titans have knocked off the Patriots and the Ravens.
He's had a wonderful season. Henry averaged 5.1 yards per carry this year and 1,540 yards overall. He averaged 102.7 yards per game.
The past two years, he has six carries of 60 or more yards. The guys an absolute stud.
He's set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Should the Steelers make a run at this guy? After all, they averaged just 3.6 yards per carry this year.
Here's the rub: The Steelers would have to forego signing Bud Dupree in order to go after Henry.
Would the Steelers really do that? Well, they tried to pay Le'Veon Bell. Maybe they value the running back position more than other teams around the NFL.
They were prepared to make him the highest paid RB in football before Todd Gurley got paid.
I also think Henry is better at his craft than Dupree is at his. Last year, he averaged 4.9 yards per carry. They just didn’t give it to him enough.
The worst he’s been in his four year career is at 4.2 yards per rush. Still better than what Conner and the Steelers averaged this year.
He’s such a physical freak that he can bust through contact and make something out of nothing. If you’re worried about him breaking down, he really hasn’t had too much wear on his tires.
Sure, he had 303 carries this year, but it was just 215, 176, and 110 in the three years prior to this one.
IF the Steelers wanted to AND the Titans didn’t franchise him, they could absolutely land this guy. I have no doubt that he’d be good in Pittsburgh.
BUT, would you do it at the expense of getting rid of Bud Dupree?
The last team to win the Super Bowl with a big time running back was the Pats with Corey Dillon.
It was the Rams with Marshall Faulk before that. Now, that’s not to say you can’t do it that way. There are many ways to slice a pig.
But give me the pass rush. Brandon Graham had 9.5 sacks for the Eagles when they won the Super Bowl, and he made the play that saved the game for Philly. The Broncos had Von Miller running wild when they won the Super Bowl. The 2013 Seahawks had Avril and Bennett coming off the edge. The 2008 Steelers had Woodley and Harrison. Woodley had six sacks in three games. Harrison was the defensive player of the year.
I think in order to win Super Bowl’s, you need a quarterback and someone who can negatively effect the other team’s quarterback.
T.J. Watt was really damn good this year, like last year. But he had a career year the same season that Bud Dupree did.
That’s not a coincidence.
The Steelers have a good, no longer great, offensive line. They had trouble this year because they basically had Stan Savran and me at QB.
When Ben comes back, the other team won’t load the box as much. They’ll be able to have success on the ground. Maybe add a running back in the draft. Travis Etienne, anybody?
It’s cheaper. With Ben, it could be just as effective. And you can still have Bud Dupree.
We know that there are impact running backs in the later rounds of the draft. James Conner was a third. Kareem Hunt was a third. Alvin Kamara a third. Phillip Lindsay was undrafted.
HELL, Derrick Henry was a second round pick.
Meanwhile, it’s really hard to draft a pass rusher that’s going to come in and dominate from day one if you don’t have a first round pick.
Think about it: Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, late stage LaMar Woodley…How many dudes did the Steelers have to go through to get back to having an adequate pass rush?
The Steelers could have a great rushing attack next season if they make the right pick. I think the pass rush would take a drop off, if Bud Dupree is allowed to leave via free agency.
Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment right now with Henry and what he’s done with his football team, but you can get RB's on the cheap.
Meanwhile the Steelers are usually able to find good running backs.
Willy Parker was undrafted. Rashard Mendenhall was a good player. Mewelde Moore was effective for this team. Le’Veon Bell. James Conner.
They find good running backs.
It’s harder to find a good pass rusher. Better to keep the guy they’ve got.