No surprises for the Steelers in Peter King’s new mock draft

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Curt Popejoy
·2 min read
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It’s draft week and the mock drafts are going to be coming in fast and furious. One of their most respected voices in the NFL media is Peter King. He submitted his 2021 NFL mock draft this week and it is one you don’t want to miss. We decided to dive in for the sake of the Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick but be warned, it’s not as exciting as we had hoped.

King has the Steelers drafting Alabama running back Najee Harris. Ho-hum. This pick seems to be a foregone conclusion at this point. Here’s what King said about the pick.

It’s been 13 years since the Steelers took a back in the first round (Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois, 23rd pick, 2008), and I think they’d consider the speedy Travis Etienne here also. They could go Teven Jenkins or Sam Cosmi here because of major tackle need, but alarm bells must be clanging in the head of draft czar Kevin Colbert after the miserable time Pittsburgh had in the run game last year. In seven of their last 11 games, the Steelers managed less than 55 rushing yards, and their season fell off a cliff.

The all-time leading Alabama rusher and touchdown-scorer, Harris isn’t the home-rush threat of Etienne, but he doesn’t shy from contact, runs between the tackles fluidly, and is the kind of bellcow back the Steelers have been seeking since Le’Veon Bell left. I’m not a big fan of running backs in the first round, and if the Steelers go tackle here, that’s fine. But spending big on a big need would be smart, which is why I like Harris here.

The debate of Harris over one of the top tackles really comes down to where you prioritize the shortcomings of the Steelers run game. Drafting Harris in the first means you are banking on him making the Steelers offensive line look better, which could be the case.

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