Steelers take their 5th round pick, 159th overall, and go for running back depth and value with Chris Rainey out of Florida. Good hands, good route runner out of the back field and explosive off the snap. 5’8″ 180 lbs so he brings that speed dimension and change of pace to the backfield. Pittsburgh is full of power backs; tough, hard runners so Rainey makes some sense here and will compete with Baron Batch. He could also make some noise in the return game with Emmanuel Sanders; where the Steelers will look to take the pressure off Antonio Brown.
He ran a 4.45 in the 40 yd dash at the combine along with a 3.93 in the 20 yd. shuffle. Coming out of Florida, he faced stiff competition regularly so he’s no stranger to going against the best when he’s been in the field. In 2011 he rushed 171 times for 861 yds and 2 TD’s; a solid 5.0 ypc average. He also added in 31 catches for 381 yds and 2 TD’s. His best game of 2011 was against South Carolina, rushing 17 times for 132 yds. On top of all that he also blocked 6 punts, an SEC record.
According to our friend Chuck Finder at CBS Sports: Rainey was accused of a felony stalking charge in 2010 but it was reduced to misdemeanor stalking charge after a plea bargain. So he’s had some off field issues but his upside is huge. According to NFL Networks Mike Mayock he’s a great special teamer and has serious speed to be a great breakaway threat out of the backfield. If he stays out of trouble he could be a real gem.
Rainey, like his teammate Jeff Demps, is a burner. Unlike Demps, his track-speed translates to the football field, which makes him an intriguing prospect who has played various roles in Florida’s offense. While not nearly as big as former teammate Percy Harvin, Rainey has been able to deliver for the Gators in a similar fashion. He uses his agility and quickness to make guys miss. He could move up into the middle rounds.
Rainey is quick and decisive off the snap. He usually looks to get the edge. He is a very effective short-area mover who can ignite a two-step power move to beat a defender laterally and get to the edge. He is a straight-line runner but is elusive and make defenders miss in the open field. He is a good route runner out of the backfield and out of the slot and he will likely get work there early in the pros.
Rainey is undersized and it shows when he tries to run inside or pass protect. He almost always looks to get outside and will go down on contact when running in the box. He is not willing nor able to block linebackers and protect the quarterback and will get overpowered at the next level. He is a strict work-in-space player at the next level and will have a hard time playing as a traditional running back.