Bleacher Report says Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor will be the Steelers Biggest X-Factors
The Steelers offensive line will be extremely important to what the organization is trying to do heading into the 2021 season. They seem to feel confident in Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor so they decided to take the best running back in the 2021 NFL draft with their first-round pick. Not many draft analysts were happy when the Steelers decided to take a first-round running back, but if the Steelers wanted Najee Harris that was the only opportunity they had to get him. I think in the long run the Steelers will love what they will see from Najee Harris rather than a first-round offensive lineman going forward.
Bleacher Report recently wrote an article naming every NFL team's biggest X-Factor for 2021. They believe Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor will be the X-Factors for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I would have thought Najee Harris was going to be listed as their X-Factor because of how atrocious their running game was in 2020, but Bleacher Report feels the Steelers can still be a pass-first team heading into 2021.
It boggles my mind to hear people think the Steelers are going to be a pass-first team in 2021 because now they have an ELITE running back in the backfield and have a chance to make the team unpredictable. I do agree the offensive line is very important in regards to the run game in Pittsburgh, but if Zach Banner can find a way to stay healthy and Chukwuma Okorafor can produce a big season coming off of his last rookie contract year then I believe Najee Harris will be the X-Factor the Pittsburgh Steelers need to see going forward.
Here is Bleacher Report explaining why they see Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor as being the Steelers X-Factors in 2021:
"We cheated by listing both starting offensive tackles for the Jaguars, and we're doing it again for the Pittsburgh Steelers."
"An argument could be made that first-round rookie running back Najee Harris is the ultimate X-factor for a Pittsburgh team in desperate need of a jolt to remain a contender in 2021. But this will almost certainly remain a pass-first team under gunslinger quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and both the tackles will have to hold up in unfamiliar territory."
"Chukwuma Okorafor had his share of struggles in place of injured right tackle Zach Banner last year, but with Banner returning and two-time Pro Bowler Alejandro Villanueva gone, Okorafor will move to Big Ben's blindside."
"Is the 2018 third-round pick ready for that? And how will the huge and tantalizing but still unproven Banner (6'8", 335 lbs) bounce back from a lost season due to a torn ACL? If both players shine, it could make it possible for Roethlisberger, Harris and Co. to keep the Steelers in contention. But the opposite could easily happen as well."