Sometimes it is easy to forget that Benny Snell Jr. was one of the most accomplished running backs in the history of the SEC before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019.
After a promising rookie season in which he finished with 426 rushing yards and two touchdowns, Snell Jr. would see an increase in carries and touchdowns, but a slight decrease in overall productivity in 2020.
Last season, however, Snell Jr. became somewhat of an afterthought considering the immense productivity of then-rookie running back Najee Harris. In the process, Snell Jr. did not take advantage of the opportunity to establish himself as the team's No. 2 running back, even with the absence of Anthony McFarland Jr. and the minimal use of Kalen Ballage. Snell Jr. would finish the season with just 98 yards, as he declined in almost every statistical category. What should have been a season of continuous production became one that made many question whether he was worthy of a spot on the roster.
Though the Pittsburgh Steelers did not acquire any running backs through the NFL Draft, the competition that awaits Snell Jr. in training camp this year should be fierce. In addition to a healthier McFarland Jr., the team added two accomplished backs in Mataeo Durant and Jaylen Warren as undrafted free agents.
With 2021 behind him, Snell Jr. will need to summon the same confidence and swagger he had during his time with the Kentucky Wildcats if he looks to solidify himself as the team's No. 2 running back. Knowing the type of pride he has, one should expect him to fight till the very end.