With training camp slowly starting to wind down, it’s still unclear as to whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers will keep a fourth true running back on their final 53 man roster this season. With a full slate of preseason games yet to played, however, we might finally be seeing one of the younger lesser known running backs on the 90 man roster slowly starting to pull away from the pack.
Former Tennessee running back Tauren Poole, who was signed to the offseason roster way back in January, slowly appears to emerging from the group that currently includes Miguel Maysonet, Jordan Hall, Josh Harris and Jawan Jamison.
Poole, who entered the league originally back in 2012 with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent, rushed for 1727 yards and 16 touchdowns on 391 carries during his final two years at Tennessee. He also chipped in another 43 receptions for 335 yards during those two seasons. At the 2012 NFL Combine, the 5-10, 205 pound running back represented himself well, but still wound up going undrafted.
The biggest knock so far on Poole is his ability to stay healthy. So far during his young NFL career he’s had to fight back from a concussion in addition to a rib and knee injury. He ended the 2013 season on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad and now finds himself with the Steelers.
In order to make the Steelers 53 man roster this year, Poole has to prove his worth on special teams. Based on reports from the last several practices, he could very well be on the first-team kickoff return unit as the upback in the Steelers Saturday night preseason opener against the New York Giants. I’d also look for him on the starting kickoff coverage unit as well.
After the Steelers top three running backs, Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount and Dri Archer exit Saturday night’s game, look for Poole to be the next man up. He should have a golden opportunity to separate himself even further from the pack with a good showing.