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Steelers Get a Steal? Grab Florida RB Rainey in Fifth Round

The Steelers took Florida RB Chris Rainey in the 5th round on Saturday, and some are already saying they got a steal with the back, who compared himself to shifty Saints back Darren Sproles.

Florida’s Chris Rainey is one of the best athletes in the 2012 NFL draft, and the only player who won three different events at the Scouting Combine. As the 159th overall pick to the Steelers late in the fifth round, he could prove to be a steal.

Rainey was the overall leader at the Combine in the 60-yard shuttle (11.06 seconds), 20-yard shuttle (3.93 seconds) and three-cone drill (6.50 seconds), and although there are questions about his size (5-foot-8 and 180 pounds) and off-field issues (he was arrested in 2010 for stalking an ex-girlfriend), there’s no question that Rainey is an elite athlete who can make plays with the ball in his hands, as a runner, receiver or returner.

At the Combine Rainey compared himself to Darren Sproles as an athlete and said he’d like to have that kind of impact in the league. He also vowed to be a hard worker on special teams, not just as a return man but running down the field covering kicks, and trying to block kicks.

Here’s a quick scouting report on Rainey:

2010: Suspended after being charged with aggravated stalking in September for sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message, pled to misdemeanor agreed to community service, anger management counseling … Appeared in eight games, starting six…Played wide receiver primarily, but shifted back to running back at times to aid UF’s injury-depleted running back group…had 51 carries for 366 yards (7.2 avg) as well as 25 receptions for 216 yards (8.6 avg.)…Led the Gators with three receiving touchdowns and had two on the ground…Matched UF’s career record for blocked kicks with two versus Vanderbilt, giving him four in his career. 2009: Saw action in all 14 games in 2009, including starts against Kentucky, LSU and Arkansas on Homecoming…Rushed 89 times for 575 yards (6.5 avg.) and scored five touchdowns…Also had 10 receptions for 161 yards (16.1 avg.) and one receiving touchdown…As one of UF’s punt and kickoff returners, returned four punts for 40 yards (10.0 avg.) and five kickoffs for 144 yards (28.8 avg.) during the season… Ranked second among running backs on the Gators’ squad with his 575 total rushing yards…2008: Played in all 14 games during his redshirt freshman season, tallying 84 rushes for 652 yards on the ground, including four touchdowns…SEC All-Freshman selection. 2007: Received a medical hardship…Appeared in the first four games before a shoulder injury ended his season….Finished the season with one rush for 10 yards, one punt return for 22 yards and one kickoff return of 39 yards. Other: Also competed with the UF track team in the spring indoor season in 2010.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Pingback: Steelers Get a Steal? Grab Florida RB Rainey in Fifth Round | Pittsburgh Steelers | News, Forum, Photos, Highlights, Scores, Schedule, Blogs, Mock Drafts

  2. George H

    April 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Fantastic draft for the steelers.

    DeCastro is going to be the leader of the o-line for the next ten years. Pro Bowl guy from day one. Smart kid and has the steelers mentality. Solid pick and extremely lucky he fell to us at 24.

    Adams is a beast of a tackle. 6’8 325 with room to put on more muscle. He played in a competitive Big Ten and would of easily been a 1st rd pick if it wasnt for his off-field issues. I have the feeling he will be a high character player for the Steelers. Yes, he lied at the combine, however, he sent an apology letter to all 32 teams with a therapist note, waived his signing bonus for the first year and a half, and requested a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Rooney and Mike Tomlin. Adams is going to come to camp hungry and wanted to prove that he is going to be an excellent NFL player. Sometimes it takes two negatives to form a positive. I fully expect that the Steelers put Adams on a zero tolerance policy and I expect Adams will live up to the high expectations the organization set for him.

    My first impression of drafting an outside linebacker in the 3rd rd was very unpleasant. I thought there were greater needs that needed to be addressed. Then I spent some time researching the pick. I was pleasantly surprised… Spence will make an immediate impact from the bench and rotating in. He’s quick and very instinctive. He absolutely flies sideline to sideline and delivers crushing blows. I expect Spence to be turned into a safety and could replace Troy or Clark in a few years. This guy has an eye for the ball and has hard-nose steeler written all over him.

    Alamenda Ta’aamu, perhaps the steal of the draft for the steelers. This guy is a beast of a man. Huge player standing at 6’3 345 lbs. Hes a pure run stuffer and will instantly demand the double team. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he can learn from Hampton for a year. Expect Ta’aamu to be just like DeCastro, you plug him in to the starting role, and dont have to worry about that position for years. I only believe he didn’t go in the second round because of all the DTs taken in the first round. Hes a pure 3-4 NT and there just aren’t a lot of teams needing that position at that stage in the draft. I personally thought that he would be our 3rd rd selection, but clearly the Steelers organization knows the draft board better than I and felt like they could wait a little longer to draft him.

    In the 5th round the Steelers selected hopefully the next Darren Sproles in Chris Rainney. The man can flat out blaze down the field. Theres no doubt that this is a Todd Haley pick. Rainey can easily turn the corner and has solid hands to catch out of the backfield. He could even line up as a wr in certain formations, much like Haley’s old rb Dexter McCluster. Rainey can also take on the return role which is an important aspect to this pick due to Brown and Saunders relinquishing their return duties this upcoming season.

    The last few picks the Steelers selected are obviously developmental and special team players. However, no other team can find diamonds in the rough quite like the Steelers. Keisel and Brown both come to mind among others.

    One of the late picks stands out a lot to me. The WR Toney Clemons from Colorado has an abundance of potential standing at 6’4 and running a 4.4 40 time. He has good hands and is a good blocker down field. After watching some tape on him, one of his strength is crossing the field and following the qbs eyes while the qb is scrambling. Clearly thats a big plus with Big Ben’s style of play.

    Another late pick I like is Paulsen the TE out of Oregon. Hes not overly athletic or fast and doesnt have monsterous size. Hes about 6’4, but what he lacks in speed, he makes up for with excellent hands. He does however have enough athleticism and football IQ to be able to get small separation against safeties and faster linebackers. He could turn out to be a nice redzone threat.

    Overall, I am very impressed with the Steelers draft. DeCastro was an absolute steal, Adams has tons of potential, Spence will be a bit of a project but I definitely like what I see, Ta’aamu will be a beast improving the run defense and opening up holes for our blitzers, and Rainey has the ability to be a dangerous weapon on both offense and special teams. If one of our late round guys can develop into a stud, then this could be one of the most productive draft classes in years. Clearly its all way too early to specualte, but some of the major holes were addressed and there seems to be an infusion of youth that we needed. I still believe we need some more young playmakers on defense, but this was definitely a good start. I expect next year’s draft will be much more geared to the defensive side of the ball

  3. DrGeorge

    April 30, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Completely agree with you, George H. I have no criticism of the athletes the Steelers chose, including the calculated risk on Adams. However, I have big concerns about the players they didn’t get to strengthen the defense. They didn’t give LeBeau much help other than Ta’amu, who is primarily a run stopper.

    The offense is going to have to carry the defense this year — meaning, we’ll have to out-score the better teams in the league, because we aren’t going to be able to stop them. And defense still wins championships.

    Before the 2011 season, I observed that the decision to keep our antique veterans on D was a calculated risk, assumed in the hope of getting back to the Super Bowl. That gamble didn’t pay off. This year, we will pay the price for that decision. I also wrote back then that it would take two years for us to fill all the holes on D. I still think so.

    For our defense to be competitive our young players must step up in 2012. If that doesn’t happen or if we have major injuries on defense, we could quickly slip to mediocrity or worse. The Debacle in Denver was not a fluke. And LeBeau is not to blame for talent he doesn’t have.

    • George H

      April 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

      I agree that we need to upgrade the defense with a youth infusion. Spence and Ta’amu will definitely help in that area. Lindsey the linebacker out of Pitt might be able to crack the roster as well. The Steelers defense is still a top ten based on their starters, however, the depth on the defense could be our downfall. If Harrison and Woodley produce to their very high levels and Clark and Troy stay healthy, than the defense should still be good enough to win games for us. The young CBs clearly need to step up and after that Denver game Ike might be a big question mark. Still if things can go our way a little bit this year on defense, than we should be fine.

      Todays NFL has much more of an influence on the offense. The high octane offenses are ruling the league. I do believe though that a solid defense is the backbone of any successful team, but if the offense can but up about 25 a game under Haley, than the defense should be able to do their job.

      Last year the defense was on the field way too much due to the inconsistent offense and inability to convert short 3rd down plays. I believe upgrading the offense in that area, having Redman being the starter and adding starters along the o-line, it will greatly improve that area and thusly improving the defense by giving them more rest.

  4. Dave B.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:52 am

    The Steelers defense is not as bad as people are making it out to be . The three areas of concern going into the draft were nose tackle , inside linebacker and cornerback . The Steelers more than solved the problem at nose tackle with the addition of Ta”amu . This guys going to get a full season to learn from a seasoned veteran in Casey Hampton . At inside linebacker , the addition of Spence is a project for down the road with no immediate help coming from him this season . However , veteran Larry Foote is a seasoned veteran that knows this defense inside and out . Hes more than capable of handling the position . Finally , cornerback is the one area of concern . One of the kids , Cortez Allen , Keenan Lewis or someone else is going to have to step up and get the job done . If the Steelers can solve that problem theyre defense will be as good as its ever been . Time will tell .

  5. Pingback: Dwyer, Batch and Rainey: Three Steelers Running Backs. Three Late-Round “Steals.” Only Room for One in the Hearts of Steelers Fans? | Pittsburgh Steelers | News, Forum, Photos, Highlights, Scores, Schedule, Blogs, Mock Drafts

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