Bengals: Power ranking the best running backs in the AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Mixon (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Mixon (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
James Connor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

AFC North Power Rankings #4- James Connor, Pittsburg Steelers

James Conner was the primary starter at running back last year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started 10 games at the position in 2019 and is the favorite to be the lead carrier this year.

Connor was hoping to build on great 2018 season that saw him run for 973 yards but fell flat in 2019, only rushing for 464 yards in 10 games. This year, Connor is hoping to put it all together and separate himself from the rest of the pack.

Having to split carries was the biggest hindrance to Connor in 2019. With a stable of running backs that the Steelers turned to, Connor, Benny Snell Jr., and Jaylen Samuels all earned the opportunity to start and commanded over 60 carries throughout the year.

If Connor is going to have a year closer to 2018 where he has the opportunity to eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground, he first needs to become the go-to running back. This will require him to stand out from the crowd in pre-season workouts and continue to build trust with the coaching staff.

James Connor has not had the same level of production that the rest of the running back group has had. He has the talent to make an impact on the offense and elevate his play, but consistency and injuries need to be overcome in 2020.