After spending three seasons with the same franchise, running back Ito Smith was released by the Atlanta Falcons.
The 25-year-old was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In 35 games with the Falcons, Smith recorded 6 rushing touchdowns and 689 rushing yards on 175 attempts (3.9 yards per carry). He also occasionally got involved in the passing game, catching 55 of 72 targets (76.4%) for 314 receiving yards.
Now, Smith will look for his next team in free agency. Here are three teams who are likely destinations for the running back.
3. Dallas Cowboys
Leading up to when he was drafted in 2018, Ito Smith told interviewers that he was a Dallas Cowboys fan growing up. The Cowboys would only need Smith to be their third-string back with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard already on the roster. However, there's nothing wrong with using Smith if one of them goes down or needs rest in a big game. Smith plays better in sheltered minutes and would be able to play pressure-free in the Cowboys' backfield.
2. Miami Dolphins
On paper, it doesn't look like the Miami Dolphins could use a running back since they already have backs like Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Malcolm Brown. On the other hand, Gaskin and Ahmed both missed a lot of games in 2020 due to injury. Smith would be an affordable option to have on the roster in case someone is injured. He only missed two games last season and could handle an increased workload in 2021.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
As it stands, Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland are the top two running backs in the Pittsburgh Steelers' backfield after James Conner left in free agency. Ito Smith may not be a massive upgrade over either, but he's worth a look for the Steelers. They averaged 82.5 rushing yards per game in 2020 (32nd) and could use the help. Smith is a slightly better pass-catcher than Snell too, which will be necessary if the Steelers want to succeed this season. Plus, it gives them added depth in case Snell or McFarland don't produce.
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