One of the biggest debates between the media and Steeler fans this offseason has been whether the Steelers should draft an offensive lineman or running back in the first round. Yinz are pretty much divided in half between the two. The majority of Yinz do want Najee Harris. There are quite a few who would like Travis Etienne or Javonte Williams as well. It is an interesting debate and a fun one throughout the offseason.
Ed Bouchette recently decided to throw his opinion into the debate recently with his newest column on The Athletic. Bouchette feels the Pittsburgh Steelers should draft a top running back before an offensive lineman in the 2021 NFL draft. He feels the Steelers will not land a top offensive lineman by the time they get to pick at number 24. So instead Bouchette says they will have an opportunity at one of the best running backs in the 2021 NFL draft though. If the Steelers do end up passing on a running back and taking a chance for the second round many of the top running backs will be gone.
Another question Bouchette poses is who would the Steelers have running the football in 2021 if they do miss the opportunity to draft a top running back? Benny Snell, who averaged 3.6 yards per carrying in 2020? Another example Bouchette used was when the Steelers were ranked 13th in the running game in 1971. Then they drafted Franco Harris and climbed immediately to No. 2 in 1972. I do believe if the Steelers draft a premier running back in the 2021 NFL draft they will definitely improve their running game tremendously.
So who does Bouchette believe is the top running back in the 2021 NFL draft? Najee Harris. If the Steelers feel they can get Javonte Williams in the second round Bouchette doesn't have a problem with the Steelers drafting an offensive lineman in the first round, but he feels if the Steelers decide to not take a running back in the first round all of the top running backs will be gone by the time they pick again. So since there is no guarantee the top backs will be available in the second round that is why he says to get one when the Steelers pick in the first round. Bouchette feels the offensive line is very deep in the 2021 draft and they will be fine if they pick one later in the draft.