After drafting Najee Harris on Day 1 of the 2021 NFL draft, the Steelers currently have six running backs on the roster. The projected depth chart at running back for the Steelers is as follows:
- Najee Harris
- Benny Snell Jr.
- Jaylen Samuels
- Anthony McFarland Jr.
- Kalen Ballage
- Trey Edmunds
Yes, you read that correctly. Although I have always been one to say that the Steelers do not draft players to start Day 1, running back is entirely different monster. To invest the draft capital in Najee Harris as the Steelers chose to do, he needs to be the guy right out of the gate. While the job won’t be exactly handed to him, he will have every opportunity to be the guy in the huddle for the first offensive snap of 2021 come September.
Just to make things clear, for this depth chart fullback Derek Watt is not included as his position group is where he is a man by himself. Lumping Watt in with the running backs clouds the issue of where he would fall in the hierarchy of running backs.
What is interesting about the Steelers depth chart is not only do they have an abundance of players at running back, they all took snaps in 2020 in the NFL with the exception of the newly drafted Harris. The player with the most carries in 2020 was Benny Snell with 111 followed by Kalen Ballage with 91 between the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers.
Anthony McFarland saw limited action in his 11 games with the Steelers in 2020 as a rookie and only had 33 carries. Jaylen Samuels only had nine rushing attempts on the season even though he had over 120 offensive snaps. Trey Edmunds did not receive a carry in 2020 and only played seven snaps on offense for the Steelers in four games.
Although the Steelers roster is made up of a first-round draft pick and five players with NFL experience, the most running backs the Steelers would possibly keep for 2021 is most likely four. Where all the players fall exactly on the depth chart will be determined throughout training camp and the 2021 preseason.