RB Rashard Mendenhall Compared To Faulk, James

Marshall Faulk rushed for 1,319 yards and caught 86 passes in 1998.

Edgerrin James followed that the next two years in Indianapolis by averaging 1,631 yards on the ground and scoring a total of 35 touchdowns.

Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had an up-close look at both of those running backs during his brief time on the Colts' coaching staff a decade ago. He gets flashbacks when he sees Rashard Mendenhall.

"He is a good combination of both those guys," Arians said. "He has that kind of skill set. There is no doubt he can do what those two did."

It's an understatement that the Steelers have high hopes for Mendenhall in his third year. Despite his rookie year being limited to 19 carries and his second year marred with a benching because of a lack of attention to detail, Mendenhall is the player the Steelers are relying on in the running game.

They decided not to re-sign Willie Parker in the offseason and didn't bring in veteran running backs to compete with Mendenhall.

There was a reason for that.

The Steelers expect Mendenhall to do everything this year, meaning he will rarely come off the field.

"My goal is staying out there until I can't," Mendenhall said. "That's my role."

In this era of the running back by committee, the Steelers are looking in a different direction when it comes to Mendenhall.

"He is such an explosive player that you just don't take those guys off the field," Arians said.

Arians plans to use Mendenhall much more than the 242 carries and 1,108 yards he totaled last year. He expects to utilize Mendenhall more out of the backfield as a receiver as well. Mendenhall caught 25 passes a season ago and found the end zone eight times.

Mendenhall is expected to be the third-down back, the goal-line back and possibly the short-yardage guy, too.

Fantasy Impact: 

Mendenhall is a top ten back in both our regular rankings and our PPR rankings, and in some drafts, he might not be taken in the first round (his current ADP is 13). If you are drafting late in the first round, he's a good guy to get. If you can take him in the second round, he will offer exceptional value.

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