The Pittsburgh Steelers’ global fan base was waiting anxiously to see who their favorite team would take, and as the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft got underway fans were glued to their television sets to see how the draft board started to break. What happened was something no one envisioned.
Players like Alex Leatherwood and Zaven Collins were drafted well ahead of expectations, and this turned the entire draft upside down. Suddenly, the 24th pick was approaching, and the Steelers suddenly had options.
Chrisitan Darrisaw and Teven Jenkins were both still on the board, and dynamic defender Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (JOK) was also still available. Fans were wondering which direction the team would be heading, considering at one point all everyone was talking about was the running back position.
They ended up selecting Najee Harris out of Alabama, and ESPN’s NFL Draft expert Todd McShay declared the pick the best addressing a “glaring need” of all the picks in Round 1. See what he had to say below:
Which team best addressed a glaring need?
The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of their running back position in a big way, landing one of the top two in the draft at No. 24. Alabama’s Najee Harris has power, speed and size, and I really liked the decisiveness he showed during his final college season. He is excellent between the tackles as a runner, but he will also play a role in the pass game and effectively help out in pass protection.
The Steelers’ 3.6 yards per carry ranked last in the NFL last season, and then their lead back — James Conner — signed elsewhere. Benny Snell Jr., who rushed for only 368 yards on 111 carries in 2020, was atop the depth chart. The Pittsburgh offense faded down the stretch last season, as a once 11-0 team finished at 12-4, and the lack of a run game was a big part of the problem. During the first five games of the season, the team’s top rusher broke 100 yards four times. During the final five games, a running back broke 40 yards just one time.
Harris is a three-down back who can immediately solve the issues at the position and provide the Steelers with something they’ve been missing.
What do you think about McShay’s commentary of the Steelers’ top pick? Do you think the Steelers just filled a need, or did they get a playmaker who can help the offense get even better? Can Harris not just be another guy, but the guy? Can Harris start from Day 1?
All of these questions remain, and will until training camp begins, but the Steelers are far from done in the 2021 NFL Draft. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of the draft.