While many analysts and pundits believe the Pittsburgh Steelers will select a running back in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, one CBS Sports insider is sharing skepticism.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora is breaking from the pack, as he is simply not sold that Pittsburgh is a lock to draft their next running back in the first round.
“Color me among those skeptical the Steelers take a running back in the first round,” La Canfora wrote. “They have holes aplenty, and that cannot possibly be lost on them, and unless that offensive line is truly fixed and improving, the pass and run game are going to suffer.”
Numerous mock drafts over recent months have projected Alabama running back Najee Harris to the Steelers. Others have Pittsburgh selecting Clemson’s Travis Etienne.
La Canfora believes Harris will be selected before the Steelers get on the clock, likely heading to Miami at No. 18. As for Etienne, he does not see Pittsburgh splurging a first rounder on him either. La Canfora believes the Steelers have more pressing needs elsewhere that need more immediate addressing if the team is in fact going to give it one more shot with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“This team needs help in the trenches, and at pass rusher, and at corner, and need matters when you are trying to win one last time with a quarterback who may already be past his expiration date,” La Canfora writes.
La Canfora is so down on Pittsburgh taking a running back that he would even rather the team select Roethlisberger’s replacement before drafting their next bell cow.
“I’d take a quarterback before a running back if I was running that draft, and I’d take at least another position or two before I go with an RB, given how plentiful they always are,” La Canfora writes.
La Canfora is not wrong that Pittsburgh has plenty of needs to address in next week’s draft. While the Steelers did have the worst rushing attack in football a season ago, much of those struggles can be attributed to the offensive line.
Not only does Pittsburgh need to snag an offensive tackle, but they also need to replace recently retired center Maurkice Pouncey. With the departure of veteran cornerback Steven Nelson, they have a hole in the secondary, too.
The 2021 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 29 in Cleveland.