With the college football bowl season coming to a close, and the end of the NFL regular season officially over, many NFL fans will start thinking about the 2021 NFL Draft and start fantasizing over prospects their team could draft in the spring. Steelers fans, like many other, have already jumped on the bandwagon of a couple of players, but no one is getting more attention than Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris.
Nantz: "Can (the Steelers) find a running game, to use some of the clock?"— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) December 27, 2020
Romo: "No. No, they cannot."
Harris is an athletic specimen in the same vein as Derek Henry, but a little bit shorter/lighter, a touch faster and with better hands. He is exactly what an NFL team would want in a premier running back, and, considering how bad the Steelers have been at running the football, I totally understand why his name has been so popular. But there are a few glaring issues with the Steelers drafting a running back, especially one that should hear his name called in the first or second round.
The most glaring issue is the Steelers’ aging offensive line. No matter how good Harris is, it won't matter if the offensive line can't block anyone. In an offseason where the Steelers may be forced to move on from three or more of their starting offensive lineman, they would be wise to use early draft capital on the most underrated position in sports.
Secondly, one of the things that makes Derrick Henry so dangerous is that when the Titans run a zone read, the defense has to overcompensate bodies to his side to try and stop him. In turn, this opens up Ryan Tannehill to pull the ball and run it himself, like he did against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16. A play which he took 45 yards for a touchdown. Having Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, defenses will never have to worry about Roethlisberger pulling the ball and running it himself. Further allowing Harris to get teed off on in the running game.
We have already seen what five years of NFL football does to a running back, who typically fall off the second they receive that second deal. So why waste 2-3 years of Najee Harris’ prime, while also ignoring glaring needs elsewhere? Harris will also be coming into the NFL with roughly 800 NCAA touches under his belt, in other words, he already has mileage on the tires. I just don’t think this is the smart pick unless they found a way to trade back for extra picks in the process.
But what do you think? Should the Steelers target a running back in 2021, or should they wait until the offensive line is solidified for the future? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.