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With the draft less than a month away, mock drafts are ramping up even more and will continue to do so until the day of the event on April 29. ESPN's Todd McShay's latest mock draft has the Steelers selecting Alabama running back Najee Harris in the first round and center Landon Dickerson in the second round.
It would certainly be interesting if the Steelers selected two Alabama players in the first two rounds given that they haven't drafted a player out of Alabama in the first round since 1951 when they selected fullback Butch Avinger.
The Steelers have reportedly expressed interest in Harris and the Rolling Tide running back has been linked to Pittsburgh at 24th overall in a lot of mock drafts. The Steelers need a boost to their run game after ranking dead last in rushing yards per game (84.4) and yards per carry (3.6) last season. Harris certainly fits the bill as a bell-cow running back and would instantly make the Steelers' rushing attack better.
The Steelers also have a massive void to fill at center with Maurkice Pouncey retiring in February. They simply just can't go into the 2021 season with B.J. Finney as their starting center either. Dickerson in the second round makes a ton of sense. He's a big, physical center who's a dominating run blocker, which is just what the Steelers need. However, there are some medical red flags when it comes to Dickerson, who suffered an ACL injury in the SEC Championship Game against Florida this past year. He also tore his ACL in 2016 and was forced to redshirt in 2018 because of an ankle injury.
Below is an excerpt of why McShay believes the Steelers will draft Harris at 24th overall and Dickerson at 55th overall in the draft.
“Teven Jenkins is tempting here. He’s a mauler on the offensive line, and the Steelers must rebuild that unit from the ground up. Ultimately, I went in a different direction because the lineman class is deep — I have more than a dozen in this mock — and running back is just as much of a concern. Harris is a powerful back who is nearly impossible to stop between the tackles. The Steelers’ 3.6 yards per carry ranked dead last in the NFL last season, and it doesn’t appear that James Conner is returning, currently leaving the rushing to an unproven group of Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Kalen Ballage and Jaylen Samuels. Let’s get an impact running back.”
"Dickerson would be the Steelers’ post-Maurkice Pouncey plan, after the longtime Pittsburgh center retired this offseason. Dickerson has some durability issues — for one, he tore his ACL in December — but he has strong awareness in pass protection and can drive back defenders on run plays, opening lanes for the Steelers’ projected first-round pick, Najee Harris."