Will the Pittsburgh Steelers draft a running back in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft? That has been the most debated question among the media and Steeler fans during the 2021 offseason. The Steelers typically do not draft players based on need, but they rather select the 'best available player' on the board each season. This year feels a bit different because they just lost their starting running back in free agency and the Steelers really need help in regards to their running game. So could they pull the trigger on a first-round running back?
Colbert on the running back position: "I don't think you can ever underestimate the value of a quality player at any position, and running back is no different," said Colbert. "I understand the game has changed, and that it's now more of a horizontal game than it is a vertical game and people don't play traditional football anymore, with two-back sets and power games, and so on. It has changed, but if you have a dynamic player at any position, that player should make a difference. If you look at the Hall of Fame runners, most of those guys were high draft picks. I don't ever place a value – high or low – on a given position. I place the value on who the player is, and what that player can do to help us."
Bob Labriola feels the Steelers are not going to draft a running back in the first round just to draft one because of need. He feels if there is a 'difference maker' in the first round the Steelers are not going to let the pretense of the position be devalued by the way the game is currently being played in the NFL stand in their way. So Labriola is saying if the Steelers feel like there is a top running back on the board when they draft then the Steelers are not going to let anyone devalue their pick if they do indeed draft a running back.
If Najee Harris is there with their 24th pick that would be a 'difference maker.' It will be interesting to see if they have as much interest in Travis Etienne as they do in Najee Harris if Harris is off the board around the 24th pick. There is no doubt that Harris and Etienne are the best running backs in the 2021 NFL draft, but Javonte Williams is the youngest. Regardless I feel the Steelers should at least get one of the top 3 premier running backs in the 2021 NFL draft if they want to see a difference on the football field in regards to their running game going forward. Steelers should draft Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, or Javonte Williams and then beef up their offensive line.