Report: Steelers eager to draft a running back in the first or second round

NFL: JAN 10 AFC Wild Card - Browns at Steelers
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NFL teams have increasingly found that drafting a running back is a risky proposition, with highly drafted runners often proving to be no better than the backs available late in the draft or as undrafted free agents. But the Steelers apparently think they need to address the position early in this year’s draft.

Pittsburgh expects to add a feature draft most likely in the first round and no later than the second round, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Steelers allowed last year’s leading rusher, James Conner, to leave in free agency. They’ve spent fourth-round picks on running backs, Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell, each of the last two years, and they signed Kalen Ballage in free agency. But they apparently want more.

Clemson’s Travis Etienne and Alabama’s Najee Harris are generally considered the best running backs in this year’s draft.

The report says the Steelers are serious about improving their running game and may also draft a run blocking offensive lineman early.

41 responses to “Report: Steelers eager to draft a running back in the first or second round

  1. Decent rbs are not hard to find if you have an adequate run blocking offensive line.

  2. As a Cowboys fan, if you do draft one early, don’t compound the mistake and pay him a second contract.

  3. Hopefully they do. No one in the North wants them to improve their pass rush, or o line.

  4. I’m not certain drafting a running back high in the draft is such a terrible idea, but giving them that second bloated contract is definitely a bad idea.

  5. That would be very wise for the Steelers. One of the reasons Roethlisberger had a subpar year. He had no running game. You can only hit on late round running backs for so long before the streak ends. An Elite running game does wonders for a QB.

  6. Imagine thinking that RB talent is the sole or primary reason that the Steelers run game is awful and not how old and injury prone their O-line is.

  7. Why would they do that? They’ll just let whoever it is walk in 4 years anyway. You should get more lasting power from a pick that high.

  8. Something doesn’t sound very Steeler about RB in round 1. Their oline needs bodies, they have no future QB on the roster…cannot see them using pick #1 on an RB

  9. Dulac certainly has insight into the inner workings of the Steelers FO – which makes me wonder why they’d like this info to become public knowledge.

  10. If you believe anything a team is saying, this close to the draft, I have a bridge I’d love to offer you.

  11. If a team drafts a player projected to go in later rounds in the first round, then the player usually does not live up to expectations fitting a first rounder. Seattle has done that drafting OL and RB in the first round even though draft experts project them to go in the second round or later.

  12. Steelers have lost 3 starting offensive lineman. Until they address that issue, it won’t make much difference who they have at RB.

  13. If that’s what the Steelers are saying the one thing we know for sure is that they won’t be taking a RB in round one or two. They are just saying that to get the people in front of them to take that RB so the player they want falls to them.

  14. With Matt Canada as the OC the Steelers will pick up Derrius Guice for pennies on the dollar as a reclamation project. He’ll be rollin like the bus and take the heat off Grandpa Ben!

  15. Drafting a running back will definitely help improve that zone defense. Great idea Mike

  16. glizzyking says:
    April 18, 2021 at 9:46 am
    With Matt Canada as the OC the Steelers will pick up Derrius Guice for pennies on the dollar as a reclamation project. He’ll be rollin like the bus and take the heat off Grandpa Ben!
    It’s hard to take the heat off the QB, when you have a RB that is either on IR, or putting up 10 rushes for 18 yards against a horrible defense.

  17. That seems like a dumb idea, I mean why think about OL or Ben’s successor when you overdraft a RB

  18. It’s not a shocker most fans feel they can draft a Center in round 2 and know they trust chuks and banner at OT. They believe Decastro will be healthy and doctson is a stud at g. Tomlin loves a bell cow RB

  19. Yep . . . OL and RB, not necessarily in that order. It depends who’s still on the board at #24. DB/LB can wait til the 3rd round. Usually Colbert and Tomlin go D early, but not this year.

  20. I’d like to see Bennie Snell get a chance to carry the load. With an offensive line, and a healthy QB, I’d have higher priorities in the first round.

  21. I don’t believe that one bit, sounds like smoke to me. If they needed a RB that bad they could have easily signed that RB Carolina just let Atlanta pick up. I think his name was Davis, he filled in nicely while their RB was out.

  22. Elway may have never won a SB without TD. Terrell Davis was a “flip a coin” 6th round draft pick.

  23. If anything, they should be willing to move up to get the best OL they can. Until you have a solid OL, you have no running game.

  24. I’m pretty sure that Pittsburgh knows how to have a good running game. LeVeon Bell,Willie Parker, Jerome Bettis. They also have multiple O linemen in the probowl year after year. Bell drafted 48th overall, Bettis via trade and Willie Parker was an undrafted free agent pick up. The Steelers don’t reach for rb’s and if they were going to do so it’s not going to be a leaked unless Pitt wants it leaked. So this just doesn’t pass the eye test.

  25. Benny Snell can play, but Javonte Williams screams as a Steelers type RB. They would make a great tandem

  26. Zigging when the masses are zagging can have benefits with the risk. I see no benefit to the risk incurred with this idea. A RB, like a new car loses a chunk of its value once you take him out of the wrapper and use him. You set an immediate problem up if they DO succeed in that they are starting at a higher salary, and even if you do decide you want them for contract #2 you’ve made it more expensive. Gurley, Barkley, hellaire, you think the Rams, Giants, and now Chiefs have a little buyers remorse? A top lineman I think now any of the 3 would’ve said after year 1 yes please give us him instead. There are GREAT RBs still. But there are very good ones available in the 5th round. That fact alone makes drafting a RB in 1, or even 2 a mismanaged use of draft capital. In my Opinion

  27. Steelers are approaching the fork in the road. The AFC North now has some serious competition and the Steelers are in danger of being left behind. They better choose wisely.

  28. Why would anyone in the Steelers front office who actually has any knowledge of who they’re going to pick give this info to a reporter? There’s no upside in doing that. Either this is a smoke screen or the source doesn’t really know who they’re going to pick.

  29. Etienne is TJ Yeldon or Montario Hardesty at best. He’s always going to be hurt, much like Fournette was in Jacksonville. The kid from Bama is the only real 1st round RB in this draft… unless KC or the Bills take one late. Harris will go to one of the teams with 2 1st rounders this year, with their second pick.

  30. I think TE from Clemson is being highly underrated in this draft. I watched almost all of clemsons games and he was best player on the field including Lawrence in quite a few of them. He would really slide into that offense perfectly.

    Im routing for him to go as high as possible. That being said i would never draft a runningback in the first or second round. The production difference between a team with a high first round type back and a team with 3 or 4 committee type guys is negligible at best.

  31. Pittsburgh may find an answer a little later in the draft than Round 1. Better idea in Rounds 2 – 4.

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