Baron Batch Is The Pittsburgh Steelers\’ Very Own Tim Tebow

By Cian Fahey

Over the past few years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been very fortunate with their late round draft picks and undrafted free agent pickups. Players like Antonio Brown, Ramon Foster, Doug Legurksy, Weslye Saunders and Ryan Mundy have all been success stories for Kevin Colbert.

However for every Mundy there is a Mike Humpal, every Brown a Ra\’shon Harris and every Foster an A.Q. Shipley.

The truth is that the Steelers are no different from any other team in that they hit and miss in every area of the draft. Maybe their success rate is better than most but it is still by no means a certain science. Just look at the 2008 draft as just two, Mundy and Rashard Mendenhall, of the seven selections remain with the roster.

While I, like all of you, hope that each of the team\’s late round draft picks prove to be productive players, I don\’t expect any of them to be. In fact, I must encourage myself to curb my expectations on the earlier draft picks also because they are no certainties.

This off-season I have read a lot of talk about two players. Two running-backs.

Despite the fact that neither of these backs had played a single regular season game, in fact one of them hasn\’t even played in a preseason game, both players carried a lot of hype during this off-season and it appeared like a stigma to put any perspective on either player.

Chad Spann was a running back who had a lot of people talking about him this off-season as a potential player to make the roster. Spann was expected by some to be a part of the committee that would replace Mendenhall this season.

A few weeks ago, Spann was released.

Spann isn\’t really the issue here however. The real issue resides around a running back the Steelers drafted in the seventh round last year. Seen as a replacement for Mewelde Moore, Baron Batch has a lot of people talking this off-season.

What is all that talk based on?

It\’s difficult to really understand. It appears that he gained a lot of respect from the Steelers\’ fanbase because of a single block on James Harrison.

One single block.

Not just one single block. One single block in training camp. Training camp, not a even a pre-season. Not even a scrimmage. One single block, in a drill, in training camp.

After that block, Batch tore his ACL and was ruled out for the season. Considering the situation, Batch is more likely to be cut during training camp than even make the roster for the regular season. He is recovering from a serious knee injury after coming out of college in the seventh round. Not the first round, the seventh round.

Batch is a good football player. Everyone in the NFL is. However the idea that he is a sure thing to be a game changer for the Steelers, or even a role player, is raising the bar too high.

I know very little about Batch the football player. You can slate me for that all you like but you know very little about him as well. Don\’t tell me that he is a star, he hasn\’t played a preseason game yet. You haven\’t seen him on the field in a professional environment therefore you have no clue how he will react.

While I know very little about Batch the football player, I have gained some idea of his personality from his active blog/twitter account. Don\’t get me wrong, I don\’t claim to know him at all, but Batch has provided some insight recently into how ridiculous the notion of him even being “famous” is.

I suspect I will receive a lot of criticism for being down on Batch, some will call me a hater, I\’m not down on Batch at all. I\’m just not expecting him to do anything. As with every other Steelers player in his position, I have hope for him.

Hope, but no expectation. Expectation comes with what you\’ve done on the field. Hope comes with talent and potential sometimes even reputation.

One block in training camp isn\’t worthy of a reputation.

Just like with Tim Tebow, Batch is being unfairly treated by those expecting him to be LaDainian Tomlinson from day one. It\’s not his fault, it\’s the media/audience following him that are construing the facts.

You can follow Cian on Twitter at @Cianaf

  • JAMESH

    Thanks, Colonel Qualude.

  • JBPitt

    I don’t know anyone that thinks he is going to be LT. Hell…I bet 50% of the people out there, don’t even know who he is. He created a buzz in training camp last year and that’s about it. Coming from his college offense, there is reason to believe that he will be a serviceable 3rd down back. I don’t get this article.

  • SteelerDave

    Batch did show before his injury a ton of potential and was the talk of camp before he was hurt. He “could” be an excellent 3rd down back and I for one will be rooting for him.

  • Steamin’ Dick

    my thoughts exactly

  • Broderick Wallace

    So… according to you, all of the “talk” surrounding Baron Batch was “one single block.”

  • http://twitter.com/jointfurymj Jersey Mike

    LMFAO…….just who was talking about Chad Spann making the roster? Even if the Steelers didn’t draft Rainey all Spann was going to be was a camp body.

  • LouPGH

    I think you’re all overreacting, as his general point seems merely to be that fans should temper their post-draft expectations. I would suggest that this is not a controversial statement.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    My setiments exactly…I didnt create the buzz about him…it was the Steelers who did…Im just following along.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NXON22FQSDCCSA2WHZIRTHQWTU Greig

    It was more than just a single block, that put Batch on people’s radar. Pat Kirwan was at the Steelers training camp that day, and had this to say about Batch:

    “Seventh-round pick Baron Batch, a running back, blocked Harrison well in a blitz pick-up drill and got the attention of the coaches. During the team scrimmage Friday night, Batch blocked every blitzing linebacker extremely well, plus showed running ability and route-running ability.”

    Kirwan later listed Batch as one of top rookies he saw during his training camp tour:

    “Batch might have been the most impressive guy I have seen at camp so far in terms of toughness. He’s an outstanding pass protector and receiver for the third-down package.”

  • LouPGH

    Not that I really knew much about the guy, but he had about as much a chance of making the 53 man roster as any other young RB in camp. Not like anyone but Redman (and Moore, if you’re counting him as still with the team) had much experience.

  • JAMESH

    Great find, Greig.

  • NW86

    Still, you’re talking about training camp. One day of it. Cian makes a good point, let’s not anoint him as the next Reggie Bush or even the next Mewelde Moore just yet.

  • CW

    I think most realistic people know he’s not a lock to even make the team, maybe not even the practice squad. Personally I’m just hopeful for this kid. Every couple of years some undrafted or late round running back turns out to be one of the great running backs and until they show me otherwise I always kind of hope that the next late round or undrafted guy turns out to be the next Willie Parker or Arian Foster. But simple reality is most of the late picks are probably not even ever going to see the field as regular season starters and may only ever be special teams players at best.

    But it can’t hurt to hope for the best from this type of pick, like I was thrilled to see Issac Redman make the team when that happened. The late round picks and the undrafted guys turning into the next greatest at their position are just a sort of long shot story that is heartwarming to the fan base.

  • kenzieee

    can’t wait till he proves you wrong like i know he will…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NXON22FQSDCCSA2WHZIRTHQWTU Greig

    No one is anointing Batch, but let’s not dismiss him either. There are plenty of people, with legitimate experience when it comes to evaluating NFL talent, that have said that this kid can play.

  • Steamin’ Dick

    lol some people were thinking batch would do really well and possibly supplant mendenhall as the starter. Also that he would gain 1000 rushing yards.

    I laughed silently and remembered thats why they work at them fast food chains

  • Pat

    Didn’tt really know that Spann existed, Batch was a very long shot to make the team last year.
    After an ACL I give him about a 5% chance of making the 53, he may be a practice squad player if he has anything left of his knee. ACL MCL ligaments are difficult for normal people to overcome, let alone RBs. It is the kiss of death. Just because a man has a blog does not translate into talent

  • http://twitter.com/Cianaf Cian Fahey

    Proves me wrong of what? I haven’t said he won’t do anything.

  • http://twitter.com/Cianaf Cian Fahey

    I didn’t anoint or dismiss him.

  • RW

    You may not be anointing or dismissing him, but a comparison to Tebow is way off base in my estimation. No one expects Batch to be God’s gift to the universe, but he is an exciting prospect because he’s so dynamic and a very willing blocker. As for your judgement of him based on his 7th round pick, I give you:

    Willie Parker
    Jamal Anderson
    Bo Jackson
    Michael Turner
    Hershel Walker
    Terrell Davis

    Don’t be confused – I’m not saying Batch is any one of these guys, but he could be. Why not let us have this hope? And, with running backs no longer at a premium, where a running back is picked no longer matters so much as how he’s used as part of sub-package football.

    Lastly, why the need to even write this article? I don’t think anyone in their right mind would anoint him a star at this point, but I think we have a right to be excited about a player who was exceeding expectations in training camp. Things like this: http://www.blitzburghblog.com/2011-articles/august/baron-batch-impressing-early-at-steelers-camp.html aren’t criminal.

  • Reader783

    Other than the fact that Tim Tebow was a first round pick

  • Wdmason

    Some of us have been annointing every player in this years draft a star but when they get cut they will deny it. We are all hoping to get great players Batch included but the reality is many will be cut especially late rounders and I think thats the point of the article. It seems we have had our share of duds these past few years. Go back and look especially lineman and before that DBs. We drated a lot of duds and some of them in higher rounds..

  • Wdmason

    I just wanted to add the only reason Legursky and Foster are playing is because lineman drafted above them failed to produce.

  • Jprankster2005

    I think Redman,Batch, Dwyer as the backs on the roster with Rainey doing a bunch of things.. I think Dwyer can be a FB and Redman and batch can get most of the carries and I think they will all succeed….. And Mendy won’t be here next yr……. I liked Spann but didn’t think he could make the team…… Just as I don’t think Clay will either….. I don’t think we should bring Moore back, I think if these 3 guys stay healthy these will be the backs that will do the best….. Johnson I hope doesn’t come back unless he does a better job than The others…….. I don’t really like him in the game…… I think we got better more athletic guys to do his job…… Haley’s offense is probably going to be a fast pace team…… And I don’t think Johnson fits in there…….Just my opinion though…….

  • Jprankster2005

    Batch in my opinion if Healthy will be better than Mendy and I could say that for Dwyer and Redman as well……. Enjoy Mendenhall this will most likely be his last yr. in the Burgh…… After atleast one of these backs have a break out yr. because they will be given there chance……

  • Clintmartin

    He actually stoned more than just Harrison in drills how bout all of the linebackers he faced the video is probably still on Steelers website, He was Steelers best blocking back last year. But didnt make it to the cuts. I found the video!!
    Yes that was Moore getting blown over. His number was 35 in camp. Young fresh legs great blocking skills speed kills on third downs.

    http://www.steelers.com/video-and-audio/videos/Backs-On-Backers-Drill/855eb03a-b085-4287-9ef6-5117eca0fb99

  • Karen

    Nice video…If he comes back from the injury this kid could have some mad skills. Will be interesting to watch…

  • Woodson#26

    Out of the players you mentioned above, only Jamal Anderson was drafted in the 7th round. (Parker-Undrafted, Jackson-1st Rd, Davis-6th Rd, Walker and Turner-5th Rd)

    Will be interesting to see how Batch and Rainey does during training camp.

  • Clintmartin

    I made a mistake it wasnt Moore getting run over that was Mendenhall. LOL