Pittsburgh Steelers Select Florida RB Chris Rainey in 5th Round


I was hoping to see the Pittsburgh Steelers address the need at running back in this draft. I’m not so sold on Isaac Redman being an every down back throughout the course of a 16-game season and I believe Rashard Mendenhall has played his last game in a Steelers’ uniform.

While I was hoping for a LaMichael James or Lamar Miller, Kevin Colbert had other pressing needs early on to address.  He added a running back in Florida’s Chris Rainey in the fifth-round and there aren’t many more exciting players in this draft than Rainey.

He’s a do-everything type of player, who can fill in situationally in the backfield and gives quarterback Ben Roethlisberger yet another weapon in the passing game as Rainey is an outstanding receiver out of the backfield. The kid just finds ways to make plays and while he will make an impact on the offensive side of the ball, Rainey can make a huge impact in the return game.

Can you say speed?

Rainey is as fast as any player in this draft, running a 4.35 in the 40 and while he doesn’t have the size to be an every down back in the NFL, the Florida product will be a playmaker nonetheless.

He made big time plays in the SEC, which means he has the chance to do so in the NFL.

Here’s a look at Rainey’s scouting report from

National Football Post’s Wes Bunting breaks down his strengths:

"An explosive straight-line athlete who can consistently outrun angles and break off big plays in the open field. Can consistently turn the corner and/or put his foot in the ground and accelerate up the field. Runs with a good pad level, stays low out of his breaks and runs/finishes behind his pads. Exhibits impressive lateral quickness when asked to make a man miss at top end speed."

And his weaknesses:

"Is undersized however, a thin framed back who lacks the bulk and/or physicality to hold up inside at the next level… Doesn’t break many tackles and doesn’t possess the frame to do so in the NFL… Not an anchor player though… Doesn’t seem comfortable running at full speed at this stage and plucking the football, seems to gear down while locating the football."

2011 stats: 12 Games, 10 Games Started; 171 carries, 861 yards, 2 touchdowns; 31 catches, 381 yards, 2 touchdowns; 4 kick returns, 103 yards; 12 punt returns, 106 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 blocked kicks/punts.

Pick Analysis:

Rainey is the second player in this draft who had a problem with the law. After being arrested in 2010, he was kicked off the Florida team for five games. I don’t worry about that at all.

He’s a playmaker in the mold of a Darren Sproles that new Steelers’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley can use in multiple ways. Kevin Colbert is batting 1,000. I like all five picks in this draft. Rainey is a human highlight film of a football player.

Here’s a look at first-round pick David DeCastro

Here’s a look at second-round pick Mike Adams

Here’s a look at third-round pick Sean Spence

Here’s a look at fourth-round pick Alameda Ta’amu

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