The Pittsburgh Steelers have finished their OTA sessions and fans are starting to prepare for the excitement of training camp and the regular season. With that excitement comes questions about some of the more interesting players in camp and what type of role (or if they will have one) they will have moving forward.Baron Batch, who the Steelers drafted in the seventh round (232 overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft. Last season, he was the buzz of training camp and looked like a serious candidate to unseat Mewelde Moore as the third down back until going down with a torn ACL on August 11 and finishing the 2011 campaign on injured reserve.
During these OTA sessions, Batch was able to get back into action on the field even though he still has some soreness from his ACL injury, an improvement over the first rookie mini-camp where he was still not ready for action. As the Steelers move toward training camp, he will face tough competition from rookie fifth round selection Chris Rainey for the third down back role.
However, Batch should not be pigeon holed into that specialty position. Although he does come from a spread attack at Texas Tech, he is a bigger back than many may think (5-10, 210 pounds) with a solid 4.55 40-yard dash. At Tech, while he was known as a solid receiver, he also finished his career eighth all-time with 2,501 yards rushing.
One reason that Batch could be an intriguing back up to projected starter Isaac Redman is the match-up problems he could create in the base offense and in specialty situations. Not to mention, the Steelers could look at Batch and Rainey in the same backfield on passing downs, something that could create a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators, as both backs can carry the load or catch the ball out of the slot.
Batch is also a renaissance man of sorts, focusing on many philanthropic and artistic mediums as he develops, something that has seemed to interest some of the fan base and make him a fan favorite. When talking about Batch, many fans hope that he hits his stride in training camp and picks up where he left off. If he does, he will add another dynamic, but inexperienced playmaker to the backfield and one who could be looking to breakout in 2012.
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