ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay released his latest two-round 2021 mock draft on Thursday, and he has the Steelers taking back-to-back Alabama products in the first two rounds.
McShay has the Steelers selecting Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris with the team’s first pick at No. 24 overall. Harris was also McShay’s pick for the Steelers in the last version of his mock draft, and NFL.com, Sports Illustrated and others have also linked the Steelers to the big Alabama back.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin attended the Alabama pro day, and though Harris did not run while recovering from an ankle injury that also limited him at the Senior Bowl.
The lack of a pre-draft look isn’t expected to our the stock of the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Harris, who impressed in his four-year college career with Alabama with a rare combination of size, strength and athleticism.
As a senior in 2020, Harris ran for 1,466 yards on 251 carries and scored 26 touchdowns on the ground. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry and a touchdown every 10 rushes.
With starting running back James Conner a free agent, running back remains a top target for the Steelers in the draft.
“Harris is a powerful back who is nearly impossible to stop between the tackles,” McShay wrote. “The Steelers’ 3.6 yards per carry ranked dead last in the NFL last season, and it doesn’t appear that James Conner is returning, currently leaving the rushing to an unproven group of Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Kalen Ballage and Jaylen Samuels.”
In the second round, McShay has the Steelers selecting Alabama center Landon Dickerson. Dickerson is a 6-foot-6, 325-pound center that is coming off an ACL injury and also didn’t work out at Alabama’s pro day or the Senior Bowl.
The winner of the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center, Dickerson played 25 games over two seasons in Tuscaloosa after transferring from Florida State.
The Steelers also have a pressing need at center after the retirement of longtime starter Maurkice Pouncey.