ESPN has unveiled their latest three-round mock draft with NFL Draft analysts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. splitting the workload by alternating selections.
With their first round pick, McShay projects the Pittsburgh Steelers to select Alabama running back Najee Harris. Harris has been a popular pick to the Steelers at No. 24, as dozens of mock drafts over recent months have pegged him as Pittsburgh’s future bell cow.
“Pittsburgh’s 3.6 yards per carry ranked last in the NFL in 2020, and it just lost its most productive rusher in James Conner,” McShay wrote. “Mel might not like first-round running backs, but this makes too much sense.”
With the 55th overall selection, Kiper has the Steelers drafting Harris’ Crimson Tide teammate in offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood.
“I don’t think Leatherwood is a top-50 player, but he’s a fit for Pittsburgh, which needs both a guard and tackle,” Kiper said. “If McShay is giving the Steelers a running back in Round 1, I need to get them a player to block.”
Finally, Kiper projects Pittsburgh to select Ohio State defensive back Shaun Wade at No. 87. While Wade has the versatility to play as an outside corner or safety, his best play during his Buckeye career came playing in the slot during the 2019 season. Pittsburgh just so happens to be in need of a slot corner after the departure of Mike Hilton in free agency.
“Wade got some first-round buzz after the 2019 season, but he had a poor 2020 season, when he moved out wide and covered the opposing team’s best receiver,” Kiper wrote. “He’s better out of the slot, and if he can get back to his 2019 form, he could be a steal.”