ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has unveiled his draft grades for each team following the 2021 NFL Draft, and he is not a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ class. Kiper gave the Steelers a “C+” grade for their draft haul, the lowest of any team.
While he loves Najee Harris as a prospect, Kiper is dead set against selecting a running back in the first round.
“Round 1 is too valuable, and we’ve seen over the past decade that good running backs can be found in any round — or even as undrafted free agents,” he said.
Kiper believes there were more significant holes to fill on the roster beyond running back, and that the Steelers had to a chance to find better value than Harris at No. 24 by selecting another position.
“Harris needs to be a superstar, every-down back for this to work out,” Kiper said.
Kiper is not sold on the selections of former Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth or former Illinois center Kendrick Green either.
With regards to Freiermuth, Kiper does not view him as much of an improvement as a blocker. He sees the addition as just another receiving option at the position alongside Eric Ebron.
As for Green, he notes his versatility to play guard and center, but does not believe he will provide a notable upgrade at either spot as a rookie.
The only Day 3 selection of the Steelers that Kiper actually likes is former Miami pass rusher Quincy Roche. He feels the Steelers reached on their other Saturday draftees.
“I just don’t see much value in Pittsburgh’s class, and the offensive linemen they did take were picked too high,” Kiper closed. “I haven’t even mentioned that the Steelers still don’t have a plan for life after Ben Roethlisberger. This class gets a grade in the C range.”