Art Rooney II is committed to bringing the running game back to Pittsburgh in 2021. That means he would like to see the Steelers get back to their physical ways when running the rock in Pittsburgh. There are plenty of running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft and it would be wise to lock up one of them in order to get younger in the backfield. Najee Harris is currently the favorite for the Steelers to draft if he is available by the time they make their selection with the 24th pick in the 2021 NFL draft. With that said the Steelers could also bring in a Veteran running back to help bring physicality back to Pittsburgh as well.
1. Aaron Jones - Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones is the hottest running back on the market currently. The Packers look like they will let him test free agency. Barring any last-minute decisions before March 17th. In 2020 Jones played 14 games rushing for 201 times for 1,104 rushing yards, and 9 touchdowns. In 2 seasons with the Green Bay Packers Jones has rushed for a total of 437 times! That is heavy running! It looks like 2019 is the only full season Jones has played with the Packers. 2019 was the season he finally was given a full workload. Jones has been tied to the Packers, Dolphins, Cardinals, Steelers, Broncos, and others. It looks like there is mutual interest with the Dolphins and Jones, but it looks like the Dolphins will have to give him at least $12 million a year.
2. Marlon Mack - Indianapolis Colts
Marlon Mack is highly an underrated running back in the NFL. He was supposed to be the starting running back for the Colts in 2020, but an Achilles injury kept him out of the season. When Mack went down Jonathan Taylor took over and hauled in 1,100 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns. Taylor showed up for the Colts and that could make Mack expendable in the offseason. In 2019 Marlon Mack played 14 games rushing 247 times for 1,091 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. His 2020 season could have been even more special, but it was unfortunate he went down with a season-ending injury.
3. Leonard Fournette - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Leonard Fournette was the number 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He played with the Jaguars but eventually was not happy with the team. So the Jaguars decided to release him. He ended up signing with a loaded Tampa Bay team in the hopes of winning a Super Bowl. Well, those wishes came true this season. The Buccaneers ended up beating the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Fournette was playing with a loaded backfield in Tampa Bay. He ended up rushing 97 times for 367 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those are not the type of stats you would like to see coming from a number 4 pick in the draft, but again the backfield was crowded in Tampa Bay. The Seahawks, Buccaneers, Lions, and New England are listed as landing spots for the Buccaneers.
4. Duke Johnson - Houston Texans
Duke Johnson was just released by the Houston Texans. Couldn't have been a better time to be released by an awful football team too. The Texans have decided it would help them tremendously to release Johnson to clear some more cap. They're looking to keep David Johnson instead. Johnson was a backup during his time in 2020 with the Texans. Although he did fill in games when Johnson went down it was one of his least productive seasons in the NFL. Johnson played 11 games rushing for 77 times with 235 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. To be honest the Houston Texans should just stop playing football for at least 3 years. That is how low they have sunk as an organization. Johnson could be productive with a team that isn't sinking.
5. Chris Carson - Seattle Seahawks
It looks like the Seattle Seahawks will not franchise tag Chris Carson in the 2021 offseason. Carson has put up some great numbers in 2018 and 2019 rushing for over 1,000 rushing yards. In 2020 his numbers dipped a little bit. He had 141 rushes with 681 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Carson is looking for a decent contract heading into 2021 and a long-term contract. The problem is the running back position has been devalued in the NFL. Carson is without a doubt a really talented running back who can run behind any line in the NFL. The Seahawks could end up resigning him, but they have until March 17th. If they don't he will become a sought-after back in the offseason.