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The 2021 NFL Draft is just 11 days away and the debate among Steelers Nation continues to be whether the Steelers should draft a running back or offensive lineman in the first round. In Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus' latest mock draft, he has the Steelers selecting massive Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins at 24th overall. Jenkins has been linked to the Steelers in several mock drafts.
Interestingly, Monson didn't have running backs Najee Harris of Alabama or Travis Etienne of Clemson being selected in the first round of his mock draft. It's been a belief by many, especially in the analytics community, that running backs are not worth being selected in the first round because they usually don't end up playing at least 10 years. Former Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is a prime example of how his career fizzled out. A top-tier running back might give a team five good years in his prime, opposed to an offensive tackle who can play at a high level for 10-12 years.
Below is Monson's summary on why he believes the Steelers will select Jenkins in the first round.
"The draft seems to be littered this year with teams needing a starting left tackle, and the Steelers are in a worse position than most to find one, picking 24th overall. With three tackles already gone at this point, they grab Tevin Jenkins as the best fit at the position.
Jenkins is actually the No. 6 tackle on PFF’s Big Board, but he just feels like a typical Steelers player, regularly burying defenders in the run game — a trait the team has lacked in recent seasons."
Jenkins is a big offensive tackle at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, who reportedly has a "mean streak" to him and is very physical as a run blocker. That's just what the Steelers need, as they ranked dead last in rushing yards per game (84.4) and yards per carry (3.6) last season. I can see Jenkins' personality meshing well with new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who has said he wants to bring physicality back to the Steelers offensive line.
Jenkins lined up at offensive tackle on the left side next to Kevin Dotson should help the Steelers improve their ailing run game, as both are physical and have reputations as being road graders.