James Conner is a workhorse. That’s what he is, what he does, what he is known for, what he is proud of and what he is good at.
But it might not be a part of his resume as early as Sept. 8, when the Steelers open the season in New England. And Conner’s OK with it especially if that leads to a healthy stretch run — something that alluded him in his Pro Bowl season last year.“The game has developed to the point where you have to use the skill set of your guys,” Faulkner said. “If you have guys who do something pretty well and you can use them to help your team and find ways to get them touches and balls, that’s what you have to do.”
Pittsburgh attempted the fewest rushes (21) per game of any NFL team last season. They averaged 22 more passes than runs per contest, and that was even when Conner was at full strength. It makes sense to utilize two strong backs, especially when health during the postseason is something potentially on the table. Conner should still see more carries than Samuels, but he'll likely lose some pass-down snaps in 2019.
Conner is currently being drafted as RB8, with Samuels and Snell leaving boards as RB43 and RB70 respectively.