It was likely not the rookie season Anthony McFarland Jr. had envisioned.
In retrospect, 2020 was not the season the Pittsburgh Steelers envisioned after their 11-0 start. Yet, setbacks have not deterred McFarland from succeeding. During his time with the University of Maryland, he saw no action during his freshman year, only to break Maryland's freshman rushing record the following season.
In his first ever NFL game against the Houston Texans in week 3, McFarland put together his biggest output, finishing with 42 yards on only seven carries. In the subsequent weeks following this performance, he could never quite find the type of rhythm that gave him success in this first game.
For a player like McFarland, whose style is predicated on speed, finding open space is generally his objective. Considering the poor play of the offensive line this past season, he struggled to find the edge in order to find the space necessary to break big runs. His longest run of the season was a 20-yard gain against the Texans. Aside from this moment, McFarland struggled to make the most of his speed.
As the Steelers look to make changes to their roster and coaching staff during this offseason, one should expect McFarland to make the changes necessary to be an important contributor this upcoming season. With the possibility of starting running back James Connor's departure from the team, McFarland has the opportunity of earning an expanded role, which should help push his NFL career in the right direction.