5 breakout stars to watch for Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers

There’s been no appearance in the playoffs each of the past two seasons. So could five emerging players elevate the Pittsburgh Steelers this upcoming year?

The decade of the 2010s began with the Pittsburgh Steelers reaching Super Bowl XLV. But the club came up short, 31-25, to the Green Bay Packers at Arlington. The past two seasons, Mike Tomlin’s club has fallen short of the playoffs, finishing 9-6-1 and 8-8, respectively. Keep in mind that the team still hasn’t posted a losing record since he took over in 2007.

That’s all well and good, but the disappointments are starting to outweigh the accomplishments. Last year had its moments despite the fact that the team got off to a miserable 1-4 start. Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lasted six quarters and reserves Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges simply weren’t up to the task. A defense that had struggled to make big plays for any number of years had a revitalization. Pittsburgh led the NFL with 38 takeaways, one more than the club managed the previous two seasons combined.

It’s a team that finished six games behind the Baltimore Ravens this past year. So could the following five players help this team get back on the playoff track?

5. RB Benny Snell Jr.

Pittsburgh’s running game has basically been an afterthought for more than a season. It started during the second half of 2018 and continued into his past season. The lack of commitment to the ground attack was even more perplexing in 2019 considering the team would eventually use three different starting quarterbacks – including relatively-inexperienced Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.

One of the bright spots of Kevin Colbert’s draft class from last April was fourth-round pick Benny Snell Jr. He ran hard and wound up finishing second on the team with 426 rushing yards and two scores. He filled the void left by James Conner, who suffered through an injury-marred season.

It would not be surprised to see the Steelers select a running back early in this month’s draft. But Snell remains a player worth watching.

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