How Harris, Etienne, or Williams could impact the Steelers offense

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

With James Conner unlikely to return to Pittsburgh, the Steelers are in the market for a running back. While the selection of a running back in the first or second round would be controversial, there's no doubt that any of the top three backs in this year's draft -- Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams -- have the talent to provide an instant jolt to any offense.

So what might they look like in black and gold?

Najee Harris

School: Alabama

Height: 6-2

Weight: 230

Comp: Stephen Jackson

Steelers comp: Le'Veon Bell

At 230 pounds, Harris is the heaviest of these three running backs. And he plays like it. Harris is a bruising runner that finishes through defenders. He has great balance upon contact and possesses outstanding instincts. Check out the patience and vision on this carry. Remind you of anyone? He looks eerily similar to Le'Veon Bell here.

Harris is also a natural pass-catcher which will allow him to be a three down back from Day 1. In Matt Canada's offense, he'd thrive as a dual threat with the ability to run between the tackles and serve as a legitimate receiver.

Concerns about Harris center around whether his game speed will excel at the next level, but he at least has a high floor as a solid NFL back.

Travis Etienne

School: Clemson

Height: 5-10

Weight: 205

Comp: Alvin Kamara

Steelers comp: Willie Parker

Etienne is a home run hitter. He has elite burst and breakaway speed, hence the Willie Parker comp, and also has remarkable twitch and body control, hence the Alvin Kamara comp. Etienne is seen by many as the top running back in this year's draft after returning to Clemson for his senior season and adding strength.

Given Matt Canada's tendency to utilize shifts, motion, and misdirection in his scheme, Etienne would likely thrive in the Steelers' offense. He runs outside the tackles well as anyone in this draft class.</