Updated: Apr 20
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Most mock drafts have the Steelers selecting a running back at 24th overall in the first round, with all-world Alabama running back Najee Harris being the favorite.
The Steelers have one of the worst running back rooms in the league as of right now and they ranked dead last in rushing yards per game (84.4) and yards per carry (3.6) last year.
While many feel the Steelers need to get a feature running back in the draft, Warren Sharp of Sharp Football is against the idea.
I see what mocks have the Steelers doing at pick #24 ... and if the Steelers draft a RB at #24 ... after being 1 of only 3 teams to have spent 3 picks on RBs in the first 4 rounds since 2017. I will gladly short them," Sharp tweeted yesterday. "A 1st round RB is not the answer to any of their questions."
While the running backs were not impressive in 2020, the Steelers' offensive line was horrendous, as well. They simply could not run block.
Sharp thinks the Steelers don't need to replace James Conner, but they need a better offensive line.
Sharp also stated in interesting statistic that only two times in the last 15 yrs has a team drafted running backs in the first four rounds in consecutive years then drafted a first round running back the very next year. Neither received a second deal nor helped their team win -- those two running backs were Trent Richardson of the Browns and Ryan Mathews of the Chargers.
Whether it's drafting a running back or offensive lineman in the first round, the Steelers have to be committed to fixing their ailing running game that has ranked 31st, 29th and 32nd in rushing yards per game the last three years. It's the main reason why Randy Fichtner and Shaun Sarrett didn't have their contracts renewed following the 2020 season. Matt Canada was promoted to offensive coordinator and Adrian Klemm was elevated to offensive line coach. It's essential that they fix the run game. Team president Art Rooney has mentioned improving the run game twice this offseason.
"We have to start with a commitment to the running game, and that's something that I'm not sure we've always had," Rooney said in late January via Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports. "So, as we look at changes to the coaching staff, I think that'll be part of the mindset. Again, in terms of the people in this building at this point, I think everybody understands we're going to have to be better than that. Again, I think that that contributes to the inconsistency that we saw on offense."
And then last month, Rooney in a Steelers Nation Unite conference call with fans, said he never wants to see the Steelers rank 32nd in the league in rushing again.
"We've got to be a lot better in running," Rooney. "Certainly we don't want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers being last in the league in rushing again ever. I think it's something our coaches are focused on and we'll be looking for ways to improve in the draft. It's something we've got to fix, and we are working on it."