Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Steelers select Baron Batch in 7th round

May 01, 2011 By: Admin Category: Draft/Free Agency

With the 232nd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Baron Batch, a 5’9″, 200 lb. running back from Texas Tech.

7th round draft picks are highly unlikely to make most NFL rosters.  This is particularly true for a veteran-laden team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are coming off of a Super Bowl appearance.  But writing off Baron Batch would be a mistake.

Batch played at Texas Tech, which is a pass-happy team.  Because of that, he got lots of opportunities to catch the ball coming out of the backfield.  It’s this skill that may allow Batch to make it in the NFL.  But if he does stick with a team, he’ll likely only be used as a 3rd down back.

Some might question why the Steelers would waste a pick on a guy who will likely play such a limited role on the team.  But you have to remember that the Steelers have kept a guy on the roster for just that role.  His name is Mewelde Moore.  And he’s a free agent.  Moreover, he’s an aging veteran player who is entering his 8th year in the NFL.  His experience level means that he’s not cheap.  So it may be time to replace him with a younger (or more importantly, cheaper) alternative.

Batch could be just the alternative that the Steelers are looking for.  He was a very productive runner and receiver for Texas Tech.  He accumulated 816 yards rushing in 2010 (4.6 yards per carry), and caught 32 passes for 226 yards (7.1 yards per catch).  2010 was actually his worst season receiving since becoming a starter.  In 2009 he had 57 catches, and in 2008 he had 45 catches.  So as you can see, he has a lot of experience catching the ball out of the backfield.

As a runner, Batch is nothing special.  He has decent speed, and runs with surprising power for such a small back (think Ray Rice, only not as elusive).  He’s unlikely to be used very often as a pure runner.  Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, and perhaps Jonathan Dwyer have that covered already.

He will have to make the adjustment of playing in an NFL offense.  In college, Texas Tech ran a pass-oriented spread offense.  So once Batch caught the ball, he had huge lanes to run down.  That’s why he was able to average 10 yards per catch in 2008, 6.9 in 2009, and 7.1 in 2010.  NFL teams don’t use college-style spread offenses, and the defenders are much faster.  Batch will have to adjust to these differences.

Batch’s diminutive size may actually help him in the NFL.  Shorter running backs like Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew are often hard for the defense to pick up behind the larger offensive linemen.  So don’t assume that because he’s only 5’9″, Batch has no chance of making it in the NFL.

The one concern that I do have about Batch is his injury history.  He’s been injured quite a bit, and the NFL is significantly more physical than college football.  He had a broken ankle that ended his season as a freshman (2006).  He then had staph infections that required him to have 7 surgeries, and robbed him of his entire 2007 season.  He had an elbow injury in 2009, but didn’t miss any games.  Then he had surgery for a sports hernia prior to the 2010 season, but he didn’t miss any games.

Some might argue that the Steeler should have spent their 7th round pick on another offensive lineman or cornerback.  But I believe that the team now has enough bodies at those positions to make the competition in training camp interesting.  It made sense to go in another direction with their final pick.

This pick isn’t likely to make anyone overly excited, but it definitely fills a team need.

Analysis of all 2011 Steelers Draft picks:

Round 1 - Cameron Heyward

Round 2 - Marcus Gilbert

Round 3 - Curtis Brown

Round 4 - Cortez Allen

Round 5 - Chris Carter

Round 6 - Keith Williams

Round 7 - Baron Batch

(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment by clicking on the square at the top right of this article. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. You can also follow us on Twitter by clicking the bird doohicky below. Also consider following us on Facebook. Thanks.)

Subscribe in a reader

Top                NFL Fan Sites


8 Comments to “Steelers select Baron Batch in 7th round”

  1. i’ve loved the writeups so far but felt it necessary to add these:

    all the problems that caused him to miss games were from one injury. he probably got the staph infection from the hospital when he had his ankle repaired. although i’m not 100% certain the type of injury and type of repair he had, most orthopeadic bone repairs involve having metal screws, plates, and or rods placed. if the area gets infected, not only is there a high rate for bone infection which is a major pain to treat and can cause major complications but also you have to often take back out the metal you put in because it’s now colonized with bacteria then put new metal in.

    the kid has a ton of character:

  2. The only selection that I disagreed with. But it’s the 7th round. He may be a decent player, but I don’t see him making the final 52, at least not for the Steelers.

  3. I don’t have a problem with this pick. We have plenty of bodies elsewhere. A 7th rounder for a third down back (if he makes the team) is good value.

    Actually let’s be serious, the only 7th rounder in the last decade who amounted to anything is Keisal and its very rare to get a guy of that quality in the 7th. That was back when Pitt was able to get good DE’s later in the draft because they were the only ones running a 3-4. It’s a lot harder now (hence we need to make them 1st round picks).

  4. Tim,
    Excellent point. You sound like you have a medical background. And you are absolutely correct. All of the surgeries for the staph infection were a result of one incident. He had 7 separate surgeries over the course of 8 months. As you obviously know (based on your comments), staph infections can be extremely difficult to get under control, and can potentially be fatal. So They had to go in repeatedly to get it under control.

  5. how’d you guess lol? yep, i’m a med student. btw i linked your stuff on behindthesteelcurtain in the fanshot section. as I said last year, you’re one of the few that posts insight & legitimate analysis of draft picks without borrowing what other ppl said.

  6. Tim,
    Thanks for doing that. I sometimes wonder if other people realize that most of those other sites offer no real insight into who the players are and what they can do. They simply say “Here’s what had to say about Marcus Gilbert”, or “Here’s the scouting report on Keith Williams from”.

    Have you ever read the two Pittsburgh newspapers during draft time? It’s usually obvious that neither of them has any idea who the players are the the Steelers just drafted. They provide the worst insight of anybody, and they have 24/7 access to the Steelers’ coaching staff. I just don’t get that.

  7. Dan Reisner says:

    I don’t think the Post-Gazette is bad. Unlike many other media sources, they do not pretend to have special knowledge of hundreds of draft candidates. Having access to the Steelers coaching staff does not help much on specific draft candidates because the Steelers are very careful about what they reveal.

    In fact, it is my opinion that they deliberately led people to believe they might move up in round one to take Pouncey when in reality they usually do not move up substantially in the first round. They moved up 11 spots to get potential future HOFer Troy P in 2003 and 7 spots to get Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes in 2006. They had no intention to move up 16 spots to get a guard who is not expected to outperform his brother Maurkice.

  8. i think he’s referring more to the people after they were drafted. the sites will just show the quotes from the team coaches. they don’t often have their insight in breaking down just how good or not a player is. maybe it’ll be wrong, maybe it’ll be right but at least they would be trying to give legitimate & original information on a subject. we all can copy and paste quotes, but who’s the person that makes accurate conclusions?

    for example, john harris’s articles on ike taylor have been horrendous recently. bouchette’s the exception with some actual insightful stuff on occasion, but 1/3 of the time he tries to put it on his “pay extra for it site even though you have a subscription to the paper” and another 1/3 he’s just too lazy or complains about what the fans are asking.


Leave a Reply