The Pittsburgh Steelers have a new running back on the team, and I am going to introduce you all to him. Kalen Ballage is a rookie from Arizona State University. He was drafted in the 4th round of this year’s draft by the Steelers, and he has been turning some heads so far.
Kalen is an extremely productive football player that can do a little bit of everything on the field. That makes him a valuable asset to any team. As a running back, Kalen has an average speed of 4.4 seconds in 40-yard dash and he runs with his shoulder low which gives him more power when carrying defenders for extra yards.
Introducing Kalen Ballage
If you look at his highlight tape, he shows you that he is a pretty good pass-catcher out of the backfield. He can play in the slot as well as run the ball out of the backfield. He is a great pass-catcher out of the backfield due to his ability to high point the ball. If you don’t like watching people catch the ball out of the backfield, you aren’t going to enjoy watching Ballage play.
Kalen also uses his ability as a blocker to pick up extra yards. Here he is on a nine-yard reception. His ability to block is one of his biggest assets on the team. Some players can only catch the ball and run with it, but Kalen can catch it and block for you too. The Steelers used him on that side of the ball a lot during the preseason and he did very well.
What has Kalen been doing?
Since being drafted in the fourth round, Kalen Ballage has been working hard and has not let anyone forget it. Through two preseason games, Ballage has been on the field for 21 snaps and has totaled 11 touches for 48 yards and a touchdown. It looks like he is making a name for himself.
What does Kalen bring to the team?
Kalen brings a much needed diversity to the running game and he is a bigger and a more powerful version of James Conner. You can look for him to be one of the primary backups for Conner and the running back committee next season. In fact, the Steelers have expressed interest in keeping Kalen beyond this season.
The Steelers have a great history of success when it comes to running backs, and that is one of the reasons why Kalen was drafted.
His stats and what they mean
In 2017, Kalen Ballage rushed for 701 yards on 119 carries, good for an average of 6.8 yards per carry, and eight touchdowns. On the receiving end, Ballage also had over 500 receiving yards on only 41 receptions, for a nice 20.8 yards per catch. The one problem with his stats is that in college he didn’t play a ton of football due to injury. In 2017, he played in only 10 of the Sun Devils’ games and only started eight of them.
Kalen Ballage had a lot of hype coming out of college and some draft boards had him getting drafted earlier than the Steelers selected him in the 4th round. However, his projection has fallen a little bit since the draft.
Why the Steelers drafted him
He is a big, fast, and physical running back. He is a great fit for the NFL and the Steelers offense because he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He also runs really well between the tackles. He was productive in college and he had a good workout for the team at rookie minicamp.
How he got to the Steelers
Kalen was very productive as a running back at Arizona State. He had 5,236 rushing yards and had 56 rushing touchdowns in his college career. As a junior, he rushed for 1,773 yards and had 20 rushing touchdowns. He also had 793 yards receiving and six receiving touchdowns.
Because of his explosiveness, ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and his large 6’2″, 227 pounds, he would make a great running back for the Steelers offense.
Kalen Ballage looks like a player who is going to put up big numbers in the NFL. The Steelers seem to be acquiring a valuable piece for their offense. Many of his critics were taking shots at the Steelers for signing James Conner. They will have to take a look at his college stats and see that he didn’t put up big numbers for the most part and that the numbers he put up weren’t that impressive.
Kalen Ballage put up a lot of good numbers as a college running back. The Steelers appear to have found another gem that could make an impact in their offense. The NFL will surely be watching Ballage’s progress and we should see him play a lot more in the Steelers next few years.
Do you think Kalen Ballage is a good pickup for the Pittsburgh Steelers? Leave your comments below.