The Pittsburgh Steelers running game has completely fallen off a cliff once Le'Veon Bell left town. In fact, in the past three seasons, the Steelers have finished in the bottom 20 in regards to their abysmal running. In those three seasons, the Steelers ranked 31st, 29th, and 32nd in the NFL. That is unacceptable for a team that prides itself on having running backs like Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis.
So where do the Steelers go to fix their running issues? It looks like they will head into the 2021 NFL draft and have shown interest in running backs like Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, Javonte Williams, or Kenneth Gainwell. It is very apparent the Steelers will be selecting a premier running back in the 2021 NFL draft now that they have let their starter James Conner go to another team in the offseason. Dulac has even been on the record now saying the Steelers had absolutely no interest in bringing James Conner back this offseason too.
Back to the Steelers rankings in regards to the Steelers running game. In the past three seasons, the Steelers have finished 31st, 20th, and 28th in the league in regards to rushing yards and attempts. Finally, Art Rooney II's patience seems to be wearing thin in regards to that area of the football field. Fans who have watched the Pittsburgh Steelers have been calling on the organization to make changes to their offensive line and running back positions since Le'Veon Bell left. It seems like Art Rooney II is finally going to start listening.
Art Rooney II on the Steelers Running Game: “I would like to see us be a team that can be more consistent running the football. I think that has to be a part of the game. It’s an important component I think in terms of being able to play at the level we want to play at in a place like Pittsburgh. I think everybody in the building agrees that you can’t finish 32nd in the league in running and feel you’re going to have a successful season."
The Steelers will walk into the 2021 NFL draft and draft a running back, but how bad will they want one? Could the Steelers draft a running back in the first round of the NFL draft? It is a good possibility and here is why. There could be a big run on offensive linemen in the first round of the NFL draft. The Steelers won't pick until near the end of the first round so the top-tier offensive linemen could have been picked through already. Which could cause the Steelers to draft a premier running back instead of reaching for a top second-round offensive linemen in the first round.
Not only that, but the Steelers should really consider taking Najee Harris if he is available when they pick. He is that big of a game-changer and I do not see Harris lasting until their second-round pick at number 55. If Harris does fall off of the board I would draft Travis Etienne immediately. Yes, you can sit here and say running backs are a dime a dozen, but they're not Najee Harris or Travis Etienne.
With that being said I believe the Steelers need to take either a running back or offensive linemen in the first round of the NFL draft. With how the mock drafts are looking I would pick a running back since most of the top-tier offensive linemen would be gone. The Steelers need to make every draft pick count heading into the 2021 NFL draft and they need playmakers now if they want to take one last run at this thing.