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Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Preview: How early should the Steelers draft a running back?

Will the Steelers need to consider running back in the 2024 NFL Draft?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Ohio State at Maryland Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2024 NFL Draft is still far in the distance, but as we mull through these dog days of the football calendar, what better time than now to look ahead at next year’s NFL Draft landscape?

Coming off a historically weak draft class from top to bottom, the 2024 class is sure to provide much better depth, while also boasting multiple elite prospects at the top. The quarterback class this past year was strong overall, but the 2024 class could potentially beat it. Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are the consensus QB1 and QB2, with Michael Penix, Jr., J.J. McCarthy, Quinn Ewers, and several others in the first-round conversation as well.

Receiver is another position expected to be stronger next year, with a potentially generational talent, Marvin Harrison, Jr., leading the pack. Interior defensive line looks surprisingly juicy on paper, while the safety class should also be set for a bounce-back year. No safeties were selected in Round 1 of the 2023 draft.

Today, we are going to break down a position the Steelers recently spent a first-round pick on: running back. With an improved offensive line, Harris should be poised for a more efficient season on the ground. But what if something hinders that? Would it put the Steelers in the market for a running back once again? We will take a look at the top prospects in the class and determine which ones, if any, make sense for the Steelers.

Potential first-round prospects

TreVeyon Henderson | Ohio State

Henderson is a well-rounded back with the requisite speed, vision, and patience to be an impact player at the next level. While he may never be an elite prospect at the position like we just saw in Bijan Robinson this past year, he is an efficient runner who, when healthy, displays great consistency. He dealt with a foot injury for the majority of last season, but he will be relied upon heavily in 2023, with a new quarterback under center and several new pieces on offense.

Blake Corum | Michigan

Corum was in the thick of the Heisman conversation before a late-season injury, but he and Donovan Edwards are expected to be perhaps the most dangerous two-headed-monster backfield in the country. Corum is a shorter running back known for his explosiveness, but his lower center of gravity allows for him to make things happen in between the tackles as well. He has proven an ability to handle a large workload, making him a viable candidate to be one of the first running backs off the board next year.

Raheim Sanders | Arkansas

Sanders has a style of running different than any other back in the class, and, while it is tough to pinpoint what makes it different, it has allowed him to carry the ball efficiently for the Razorbacks. At 6’2” and nearly 230 pounds, Sanders is a bulldozer in short yardage situations. If he wants to become even more effective in that facet of the game, running with a lower, more consistent pad level. He could be in play for late first-round consideration with a solid season.

Options for the Steelers

I do not anticipate the Steelers selecting a running back early in the 2024 draft, but one potential steal in the middle rounds is Blake Corum’s teammate, Donovan Edwards. Despite being the “number two running back” at Michigan, Edwards is arguably more gifted than Corum, although running behind Michigan’s offensive line is a major benefit. A couple intriguing change-of-pace options in the middle rounds are Tennesee’s Jaylen Wright and SMU’s Camar Wheaton. Frank Gore, Jr. will also generate buzz in league circles due to his pedigree.

Which running backs are you eyeing in the 2024 NFL Draft? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!