A Look At What LeGarrette Blount Could Offer The Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still on the hunt for a complementary back behind their workhorse, Le’Veon Bell, since Jonathan Dwyer chose to join the Arizona Cardinals earlier in the offseason.

This is a hole that they would clearly like to fill before the draft rolls around if their recent activity is anything to go by. After losing out on bringing Dwyer back for the minimum, the Steelers intended to bring in Green Bay Packers running back James Starks before he re-signed with his former team.

Earlier this week, they had a look at former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew over the course of a two-day visit, but he left without a contract after all was said and done. Given that he still views himself as a starter and is evidently seeking $3.5 million per season, it’s not surprising that the two sides couldn’t agree at this point in time.

Now, the Steelers are intent on bringing in LeGarrette Blount, a big, bruising back who most recently toted the ball for the New England Patriots, who is scheduled to visit the team on Monday.

Blount was once viewed as a high-round draft pick before an on-field incident threw his draft stock in the trash. You could say it took a sucker punch. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans before catching fire with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After being phased out of the offense in 2012 in the wake of the drafting of Doug Martin, the Buccaneers were looking to move Blount, and they found a dance partner with the Patriots last season.

At times leading the Patriots’ hydra-headed rushing attack, Blount excelled in his role in New England’s offense as a power runner, carrying the ball 153 times for 772 yards on a 5.0 average to go along with a career-high seven touchdowns.

Not generally regarded as a receiving threat, Blount caught just three passes over the last two seasons, but back in 2011, he was the recipient of 15 passes for 148 yards.

For his career, Blount has caught 23 out of 33 passes with two drops, so while he may not be best suited for such a role, evidenced by his little usage in said department, it is a task that he can handle.

Blount also has a reputation as a back who can’t contribute in pass protection, which is not quite the case. For his career, in fact, while on the field in passing situations, he has been left in to block about a third of the time, giving up seven pressures in 146 career opportunities, or less than five percent of the time. Last season, he didn’t give up a single pressure on 35 pass blocking opportunities.

The bugaboo that has followed Blount throughout his career on the field, however, has long been ball security. In 602 career touches, he’s fumbled 12 times, or about one fumble every 50 touches. That ratio held steady last season, as he lost the ball three times on 155 touches.

The ball security is certainly a big issue for the Steelers, whose starting back lost the ball just once on 289 carries as a rookie. Should Pittsburgh sign Blount, you can rest assured that James Saxon will be working with him to hold on to that ball.

For a 27-year-old back with starting experience who has 2711 yards on 579 carries for a career average of 4.7 yards per carry and 20 touchdowns, and has the potential to come cheap, however, I think it’s a fair gamble to take.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Bonnie Powell

    Yeah- take him Pittsburgh- the hated Ravens want him. Sign him quick!!!

  • dgh57

    Maybe a short yardage back as we’ll still be looking for a more well rounded RB to back up Bell in the draft.

  • WilliamSekinger

    I like him. His Power/Strength style is a nice compliment to Bell’s Power/Finesse. I can see the tandom wearing out a defense.

  • 804Stiller

    Agreed. For the right price, I like adding that toughness to our offense. To piggy-back off your Ravens comment, I think the Steve Smith signing brings their offense some toughness after losing Bolden last year and if they don’t re-sign Leach.

  • Richie

    Steelers need running backs, but does he fit in in Pittsburgh?

  • Robert Loveless Reid

    I can see blount & bell running all over the AFC North…. if we do sign blount i hope its for more than just a 1 or 2 yr deal…3-5 and lets get back to punishing tacklers… i see blount wearing #45

  • ApexSteel

    Watch him and you tell me.

  • Don

    I don’t think he would need to be limited to just being a short-yardage back. He averaged 5 yds/carry last year. And 29 yds on kickoffs. Some have lamented his lack of receptions, but I’m a little confused by that. If he’s catching kicks I would think he can probably at least catch dump offs out of the backfield, too. I can’t explain his lack of involvement in the Pats passing game.

  • Smashmouth

    he would be an excellent choice to soften up the opposing defense while he is spelling bell and he’ll go for a reasonable price if howling is healthy this season imo the steelers will have filled this void nicely and if we can pick up a running back in the latter rounds of the draft so much the better

  • Smashmouth

    IMO i would say it was the amount of backs they used in rotation that limited his numbers

  • disqus_uNWNJjLmTd

    Would be a GREAT signing.. considering who is left as far as free agents, we obviously need a few backups.. With Bell, Blount as a short yardage back and Stephens Howling ( if we re sign him) we have our RB. Howling would be in probably as receiving back, but I think Blount would be a cheap welcomed addition. He has so much power that Bell and him would be very tough combo.

  • Ike Evans

    Ppl underestimate his breakaway speed….he may have more of it then bell, which makes me like this move even more if made

  • Derick L Young

    if the price is right, why not…

  • srdan

    The question is: what can the steelers offer lagerret

  • Nolrog

    We shouldn’t go after players just because the Ravens may want them. They need to make sense for us based on their skills, our needs and the cap space. I couldn’t care less what the Ravens do.

  • SFIC

    I believe the Steelers will sign a vet RB just like they did at WR. The price will need to be right. I think they will use a late (7rd) pick on a RB as well. Zach Bauman out of Northern Arizona would be a great late pick or an UDFA. He lit it up at the East West Shrine. He’s short, quick, but tough. Can cut on a dime. He’s my sleeper pick this year.

  • dgh57

    Injuries can happen at anytime so I just prefer the offense not to miss a beat should Bell go out for a extended time if not for the year. We all know how we got on Redman’s case when he fumbled and Blount seems to have a problem with that.

  • Milliken Steeler

    You guys talk about wanting to get tougher right? Well Blount brings that. He went undrafted primarily because he decked that guy his last year of college however, he hasn’t shown the same maturity level since he has been a pro.

    He runs with a nastiness and can run away from people considering his size. I don’t think opposing teams would like a heavy dose of Bell and Blount in the fourth quarter.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If he just learn how to block I would be head over heals.

  • 243546

    At the very least, drive up the price it will cost the Ravens to sign him.

  • 243546

    Lack of receptions may be due to his team having better options. Shane Vareer is a great receiving option, and Ridley can hold his own. There was no reason to throw the ball to Blount in NE.

  • 243546

    This would be a great move. The Steelers want to be a balanced offense, that can run the ball effectively. Without a proven RB behind Bell, the offense risks becoming one dimensional if Bell gets knocked out of a game, or has gets dinged up for a couple of games. Blount is used to backing up other guys, and it would be pretty easy to create a role for him in the offense. I think he is someone who is also capable of carrying the load for a game or two if need be. It’s possible to find a rookie in the draft who can do the same thing, but it’s a crap shoot.

  • Will Hammer

    he’s not ging to offer anything. they won’t sign him and the shouldn’t … Fumbles too damn much …

  • Matt Manzo

    His name keeps popping up for me too! I hope he’s still there in the last rounds!

  • OIF3gunner

    Aside from the fumblitis…I say sign him. Maybe we can bring in Tim McGraw to teach him how to hang onto the football!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Statistically, I don’t think blocking is a problem for him, even though he seems to have that reputation. He gave up pressures less than 5% of the time he was left in to pass protect in his career, and that is partially skewed to earlier in his career. Last year, in 35 opportunities, he didn’t allow any pressure.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Don’t waste the money… Running back is the easiest position to transition to the NFL … Seastrunk, Crowell, Thomas. Backs are aplenty.

  • steelster

    He played behind the best offensive line in football last year so his yards per carry may not be as high with the steelers. He wants to return to the pats and he may be out just trying to drive his price up higher. I hope the steelers get him and he could be a great goal line back.

  • John A Stewart

    Richie are you a Steeler fan or you just looking for a conversation.

  • Louis Goetz

    Blount doesn’t compliment Bell much. Both are big guys (Bell 244 – Blount 247). I’d rather see a change of pace back; someone with speed, who can not only spell Bell, but change things up, also. Jerick McKinnon from Georgia Southern single handedly destroyed the UF Gators, and at 5-9 – 209lbs. runs 4.41 and did an amazing 32 reps at 225. This kid can certainly get at it. His draft stock has him going in the 4th or 5th round because he played as a Div. 2 school. The Steelers could steal him in the 3rd or 4th, addressing a need while still taking a CB and DE in the 1st 2 rounds.

  • Louis Goetz

    I can’t believe how little effort that Ravens have put forth in getting a RB. Rice is a shell of his former self. He’s declining faster than Fast Willie did. They have Bernard Pierce, but he didn’t exactly step it up last year, either. I really though they would’ve gone after someone Donald Brown (who outperformed Trent Richardson) or Anthony DIxon who got tired of sitting behind Gore. If we sign Blount that’ll put ’em even farther behind the 8-ball.

  • Louis Goetz

    He just has to position himself in the right place to make sure the kick-off falls into his hands. That’s a lot easier than running a route in between offensive and defensive players and getting exactly where Brady is going to (or already has) put the ball.

  • Louis Goetz

    I agree that a coupe of 240 pounders can wear a defense out; but that will also invite 8 and 9 guys in the block. That’s why I’d like to see a shifty change of pace back as well.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’m in favor of bringing in Blount. Most teams have a 1-2 running attack with a big bruising back and a quick scat back. If we were able to sign him I can see some smash mouth football coming back to the Burgh. 2 big backs could reek havoc on opposing defenses. He’d be a nice option if Bell were to go down as he’s been a proven starter and Also gives you a returned if he wins that job I can’t see any reason to be against the signing.

  • Tom

    Enough with the courtship of players that the team can’t/won’t pay. Just sign

    Beanie “the price is right” Wells and get on with things.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Thanx for the info. that is why you get paid the big bucks. 🙂

  • Shannon Stephenson

    He was a potential first rounder going into his senior year till the altercation he got into…if it wasnt for that I am sure he is a starter for someone today.