The Steelers get another draft pick signed and in the books today. It was tweeted out this afternoon that Steelers 5th round pick, 159 overall, RB Chris Rainey signed his 4 yr deal with the team. SteelersDigest & Steelers.com gave us the lowdown about the news.
Rainey (5-8, 178), who was the 159th overall pick, played collegiately at the University of Florida. He started 19-of-52 games for the Gators, six as a slot receiver and 13 at tailback. He finished his career ranked ninth in school history with 2,464 yards rushing on 396 carries (6.2 avg.). Rainey scored 21 touchdowns multiple ways: 13 rushing, six receiving and two on punt returns. He set the Southeastern Conference career-record with six blocked punts. Rainey became the first Florida player to record a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, accomplishing the feat versus Florida Atlantic in the 2011 season opener.
Rainey will compete in a crowded stable of running backs to try and win a roster spot. It won’t be an easy task, although it never is when you’re a new player in the NFL. Isaac Redman will be the starter but beyond that every backup spot is up for grabs.
Rainey has great speed, good hands, and is experienced at catching passes out of the backfield. Those skills will help him in his fight against the incumbent ball carriers. The speed that he possess will be a benefit because the Steelers backfield largely consists of power type backs who don’t possess blazing speed. He will however have to work on his pass blocking and blitz pickup because that’s an important role in the Steelers offense, especially on 3rd down.
Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch, John Clay, along with Rainey will battle it out to see how can secure their position. It’s possible the team would also use a practice squad spot for a player at this position too. Rashard Mendenhall will likely start the season on the PUP list, so he will take up a roster spot as well. If the Steelers carry Redman, Mendenhall, and 2 other backs on the active roster that would leave 2 spots for 4 players and possibly the practice squad position.
With all these great draft picks the Steelers were able to secure, it’s going to be an amazing training camp to watch this summer.