of second-year running back James Conner.Conner continues to shine in the spotlight while two-time All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell remains away from the team. Conner enjoyed a history-making day www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com , accounting for more than 200 all-purpose yards during the Steelers' 33-18 home win against Cleveland on Sunday."He's doing what he's been doing the whole time," Steelers right guard David DeCastro said. "He's keeping his head down and running really hard. He's a fun guy to block for."Bell, who finished as the NFL's third-leading rusher last season, still has not reported nor signed his one-year, $14.5 million franchise tender.Conner has taken full advantage while Bell has been away.He finished Sunday's game with 212 all-purpose yards, just 25 fewer than the Browns totaled as a team. Conner, a 2017 third-round pick, rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 66 yards."I'm just doing what I love to do," Conner said. "Just trying to be in the right spots for (quarterback) Ben (Roethlisberger) with the check-downs in the passing game, and just trying to put the ball in the right spots in the right game."He also made history while he was at it.Conner is the first Steeler to rush for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in three straight games. He eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the third straight game and fifth time this season."He did a lot of good things (against Cleveland), running the ball and catching the ball for us," Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said. "He just looks good all the way around and runs the ball hard. He takes it very seriously and his preparation is very good. I can't say enough about him."Now, the rest of the league is taking notice.Conner's nine touchdowns rank second in the NFL and his 599 rushing yards are third. Conner, a former University of Pittsburgh standout, is also tied for the most touchdown runs, and has the second-most yards from scrimmage 鈥?922 鈥?through the first seven games of a season in team history."I had a front-row seat for his college exploits, so we are not surprised by his talents, play, demeanor, or his displays of will," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, whose team shares a practice facility with Pitt.Conner rushed for 135 yards, gained 192 all-purpose yards and finished with two scores during the season opener at Cleveland. He has 281 yards rushing, 404 all-purpose and four touchdowns in two games against the Browns.It wasn't easy for Conner on Sunday: Conner had 36 yards rushing on his first 12 carries. But on his next 12, Conner added 110 yards rushing. By the third quarter, the fans at Heinz Field were chanting his name 鈥?"CON-NER," ''CON-NER," 鈥?when he finished the period with 114 all-purpose yards."I'm proud of him," Roethlisberger said. "It was so much fun to watch him go and work and be successful and hear the crowd love on him."Conner didn't allow the slow start to affect his play."Things aren't going to go our way the whole game," Conner said. "You just have to have patience. We just wanted to stay focused and locked in."Conner enjoyed a strong finish with 60 of 75 yards Pittsburgh Steelers T-Shirt , including a 12-yard touchdown, during a third-quarter scoring drive that gave the Steelers an 11-point lead. He added a 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter."It's just a moment that we have to take advantage of late in the game," Conner said. "We have the ball, trying to run the clock out and we need first downs. We're just trying to move those chains and stay on the field."Conner seeks a strong finish to the season, of course."I'm just trying to be a better back every week," Conner said. "I'm just running hard."To be or not to be — that is the question for the Pittsburgh Steelers “It is not in our stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” (William Shakespeare)The central question which continues to bedevil Steelers Nation these days concerns the reasons why the Black-and-gold, despite posting winning records in recent seasons, have been unable to take that final step to claim the franchise’s seventh NFL championship. This mystery isn’t just the elephant in the room — it’s more like the whale in the room. Reviewing the history of Steelers’ draft picks, you’ll encounter the interesting fact that the team’s first-ever draft choice, way back in 1936, was a halfback from Notre Dame by the unforgettable name of William Shakespeare. During the Depression era, pro football wasn’t a particularly lucrative profession, so Shakespeare the football player opted to quit the game to pursue a career in business instead. He was also a decorated, World War II hero in the Army. After the war, Shakespeare resumed his job at the Cincinnati Rubber Company, rising through the ranks to become the firm’s president in 1960.The famous handle of this original Steelers’ draft pick brings to mind a crucial distinction between players who enjoy long and stellar careers in the NFL, and those who — despite impressive pedigrees coming out of college — never quite make the grade at the professional level. So in view of the timeless, existential question posed four centuries ago by the “Bard of Avon,” it’s worthwhile examining the Steelers’ first-round draft picks over a 22-year span from 1997 to 2018 through the lens of Shakespeare’s famous dichotomy. Here’s the list:1997:Chad Scott, Cornerback (8 seasons with Pittsburgh)1998:Alan Faneca, Guard (10 seasons with Pittsburgh)1999: Troy Edwards, WR (3 seasons with Pittsburgh)2000: Plaxico Burress, WR (5 seasons with Pittsburgh)2001: Casey Hampton, NT (12 seasons with Pittsburgh)2002: Kendall Simmons, Guard (Due to injuries, played only 4 of 6 seasons with the team)2003: Troy Polamalu, Safety (12 seasons with Pittsburgh)2004: Ben Roethlisberger, QB (14th season with Pittsburgh)2005: Heath Miller, TE (10 seasons with Pittsburgh)2006: Santonio Holmes, WR (4 seasons with Pittsburgh)2007: Lawrence Timmons Pittsburgh Steelers Hats , LB (10 seasons with Pittsburgh)2008: Rashard Mendenhall, RB (5 seasons with Pittsburgh)2009: Ziggy Hood, DE (5 seasons with Pittsburgh)2010: Maurkice Pouncey, Center (9th season with Pittsburgh)2011: Cameron Heyward, DE (8th season with Pittsburgh)2012: David DeCastro, Guard (7th season with Pittsburgh)2013: Jarvis Jones, LB (4 seasons with Pittsburgh)2014: Ryan Shazier, LB (3 seasons and part of his 4th before serious injury)2015: Bud Dupree, LB(4th season with Pittsburgh)2016: Artie Burns, CB (3rd season with Pittsburgh2017: T.J. Watt, LB (2nd season with Pittsburgh)2018: Terrell Edmunds (rookie season with Pittsburgh)In the big picture, the value of any first-rounder is determined not only by the quality of the player’s contributions to winning, but also by how long the player remains a viable member of the team. Comparing Pittsburgh’s first-round draft picks during the 1997-2007 period (11 seasons) to the 2008-2018 period (also 11 seasons), we find the average length of their careers with the Steelers was 8.36 years for the former period (‘97 to ‘07) and only 4.63 years for the most recent period (‘08 to ‘18). This comparison, of course, is somewhat skewed by the fact that the most recent period includes a few players who likely have several more years remaining in their careers with the Black-and-gold (e.g. Artie Burns, T.J. Watt, Terrell Edmunds and Bud Dupree). Nonetheless, the difference in total years played with the Steelers favors the former period by 41 seasons (92 vs. 51). So, considering that the jury is still out regarding the long-term viability of players such as Burns and Dupree — and also considering that the injury-shortened careers of Shazier and Kendall Simmons roughly cancel each other out in this comparison — it’s likely that the average career length of the Steelers’ top draft picks has shortened by roughly three years during the past decade to a term of approximately five years, compared to eight years in the pre-2008 period. Additionally, when we look at the quality of player contributions to the team’s overall success, the earlier 1997-2007 period includes names such as Alan Faneca, Plaxico Burress, Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller and Lawrence Timmons —whereas the more recent 2008-2018 period is limited to the names Maurkice Pouncey, Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro and Ryan Shazier. Considering strictly these well-known star performers for the Black-and-gold Pittsburgh Steelers Hoodie , the first-round picks from the earlier period currently hold a whopping, seasons-played advantage of 73-27. Thus, it seems highly unlikely that the Steelers’ first-rounders from 2008-2018 will contribute much more than approximately half as much to the team’s success during their careers as their predecessors did.