The Steelers selected Pitt's James Conner with the No. 105 pick in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday, a heart-warming conclusion to one of the best stories of the 2016 college football season.
It's a miraculous path indeed. Here are three reasons why the Steelers' selecting Conner made for the best story of Day 2 of the draft.
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Conner suffered a season-ending injury in 2015, and was diagnosed with Hodgkins' lymphoma shortly afterward. Conner, however, managed to participate in winter workouts while undergoing chemotherapy and managed to return to the team cancer-free in 2016. Conner rushed for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, and that included 189 total yards in the 43-42 upset against No. 3 Clemson.
Conner is an Erie, Pa., native and will be received as a fan favorite with the Steelers as a rookie. That seems like a given, considering his career with the Panthers, where he finished with 3,733 yards and 30 touchdowns and earned first-team All-ACC honors last season. When Conner scores his first touchdown with the Steelers, it's guaranteed to go viral.
Pittsburgh loves the big, bad power running back. That's part of a tradition that includes Franco Harris, Jerome Betts, Barry Foster and Rocky Bleier. Conner adds depth to a backfield that features stud running back Le'Veon Bell, who has played in 16 games only once the last four seasons. There's nothing wrong with picking Conner in the third round.
In fact, it's perfect.