The Steelers drafted Maryland running back Anthony McFarland, Jr. with their first of two selections in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Saturday.
McFarland, a 5-foot-8, 208-pound running back, came out of Maryland after his redshirt sophomore season, playing just two seasons and 23 games with Terrapins in 2018 and 2019.
He had a special season as a redshirt freshman in 2018, rushing for 1,034 yards on 131 carries for a 7.9 yards per carry average and four touchdowns under the tutelage of then-offensive coordinator and head coach Matt Canada, who is now the Steelers’ quarterbacks coach.
In 2019, after a change in staff at Maryland, McFarland struggled with injuries and couldn’t break through, though he did have good games at Temple (26 carries, 132 yards, touchdown) and Michigan State (eight carries, 134 yards, touchdown).
At the 2020 NFL Combine, McFarland ran a 4.44 40-yard dash, faster than any of the Steelers top trio of James Conner, Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell. That’s the group — along with Trey Edmunds and Kerrith Whyte — that McFarland will enter in Pittsburgh.
His straight-line speed is only rivaled by Whyte amongst the Steelers backs, but a 5-foot-8, is two inches shorter than all of the Steelers other rushers, as well.
McFarland performed better in the passing game in 2019 than he did in 2018, making 17 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.
In addition to his connection to Canada, he played alongside Mike Tomlin’s son, Dino Tomlin, who was a wide receiver for the Terps in 2019.