NFL Camp Competition (07/28/13)

By John Ewing
With NFL training camps underway we check in on a few key position battles around the league including NFL rookies. (2013 projections for rookies are based on this analysis which projects rookie seasons for all NFL prospects as if they were starters on average NFL teams).


 
There are many position battles occurring around the league. This series will look at some of the most prominent clashes occurring in NFL training camps. Previous competitions: Jets QBBills QBPackers RBRams RB, Patriots WR
 
Pittsburgh Steelers – Running Back Competition
 
Incumbent: Jonathan Dwyer
2012 stats – 623 Rush Yds, 2 TDs, 106 Rec. Yds, 0 TDs
Dwyer may have lead the team in rushing last season but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that he is “no lock to make the roster.” The fourth year player out of Georgia Tech will battle rookie Le’Veon Bell for the starting role.
 
Incumbent: Isaac Redman
2012 stats – 410 Rush Yds, 2 TDs, 244 Rec. Yds, 0 TDs
Redman averaged nearly 13 rushing attempts per game through the Steelers first six contests but a 3.6 yards/carry average lost him touches to Dwyer. Over the final eight games Redman averaged just 4 rushing attempts. Redman failed to seize control of the starting job last season and now he will fight just to make the roster. 
 
Challenger: LaRod Stephens-Howling
2012 stats – 356 Rush Yds, 4 TDs, 106 Rec. Yds, 0 TDs
In his fourth year LSH finally got a chance to be a featured back, given it came after injuries to Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams. While occasionally impressive running the ball, Stephens-Howling was signed by the Steelers to a one-year contract to play special teams. Unless injuries sideline the players ahead of him on the depth chart, look for the Hyphen as the primary kick returner.
 
Challenger: Le’Veon Bell
2013 projections – 1,088.0 Rush Yds, 3.6 YPC, 227.9 Rec. Yds
The second-round pick out of Michigan State is going to be given every opportunity to win the starting job. But the question remains, is he a three-down back? If Bell can establish himself as a viable receiving threat out of the backfield as well as a trusted pass protector, he will have great value not only to the Steelers but also to fantasy owners.