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2021 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers select a run-blocking tackle with their top pick

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers look to bolster their running game by investing in the offensive line.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One - Alabama v Notre Dame Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL draft is now exactly one month away. With free agency rolling on followed by the NFL draft in April, the Steelers will have a plethora of decisions and moves to make before making their first draft selection. Because the NFL combine will not be held, pro days are the best option to get player information. It will be interesting to see what limited information ends up being available in regards to draft prospects this year.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or running back with their first-round pick. Others feel tight end or linebacker could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

This week it was difficult to find a mock draft which had the latest trades inside the top 12 and had the Steelers taking a player we have not already covered. In the latest mock draft by anchorsportsnetworks.com, they have the Steelers taking an offensive tackle known for more his run blocking. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the Steelers 24th pick:

24. Pittsburgh Steelers | Liam Eichenberg | OT | Notre Dame | SR |

Even though the draft process has been going on for a while, there may be players some fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Eichenberg according to thedraftnetwork.com:

Liam Eichenberg is an NFL-ready starting left tackle who should find assimilating to the pro game fairly easy. Eichenberg isn’t the most fleet of foot and speed rushers with wide angles can test him off the edge, but sound fundamentals and footwork should have him positioned to contest such challenges with a fair amount of success. The ceiling for Eichenberg as a prospect is tied to the offensive philosophies of his future coach. He is best when releasing vertically at the snap in the run game and either double-teaming to the second level or stepping down to collapse and create a soft edge. Gap/power teams will unleash his power at the point of attack effectively and he’ll do well to create creases as guards pull or tight ends insert to lead the ball carrier through his gap. In all, Eichenberg is a part of a talented crop of 2021 offensive tackles and his ultimate place in the pecking order will come down to team preferences. He’s more impactful in the run game than he is in pass protection, but he was rather smooth protecting one of college football’s most unpredictable quarterbacks this past season, too.

Ideal Role: Starting left tackle (plug-and-play starter).

Scheme Fit: Gap/power heavy rushing offense with featured focus on running off tackle.

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Eichenberg with their first pick? Or do you feel the Steelers should look at one of the other offensive tackles who could be available? Personally, there should be multiple quality offensive tackles at pick 24, and the biggest question is which one the Steelers believe fit their needs the best. It would be unusual for the Steelers to select a red shirt senior who has already turned 23, but I don’t know if that would be enough for the Steelers to rule him out.

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and remember these mock drafts are merely speculation and caused to create discussion among the fan base.