Will the Pittsburgh Select a running back early in the 2021 NFL Draft? It certainly seems like the organization is heading in that direction and especially on the heels of the team finishing last in the NFL in a lot of rushing stats in 2020. While that seems to be the direction the Steelers are heading in, former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor made it clear on Friday during his interview on 93.7 The Fan that he doesn’t believe Pittsburgh should spend an early round draft pick on a running back this year.
“They don’t need to,” Taylor said. “It’s on seven [Ben Roethlisberger]. They don’t need to. And I love seven, like seven’s got to change his offseason, just plain and simple. Like, we won too many Super Bowls without a first round running back. Like, why are we doing that? Pittsburgh ain’t got to do that. We’ve been winning Super Bowls without first-round running backs. Now all of a sudden we need to get a first round running back? Nah, not at all. We need to tighten up. We need to tighten up.”
While Taylor doesn’t think the Steelers need to draft a running back early this year, he still admitted that the team needs to run the football better in 2021. He thinks quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who believes really needs to dedicate this offseason to getting himself in excellent physical conditioning, needs to commit to the running game more in 2021.
“Seven’s gotta want to run that ball, too, Taylor said. “He’s got to want to run that ball.”
While I’m certainly not a big fan of the Steelers potentially spending a first-round draft pick on a running back this year, I certainly understand why they might and why at worst, they’ll end up drafting one in the second round. If they do draft one, I sure hope it’s one that can hit the field right out of the chute as a rookie and be used in the passing game as well. We’ve seen how fungible the running back position is now in the NFL.
As for Taylor’s comments, however, the last time the Steelers won a few Super Bowls, 2005 and 2008, they had first-round running backs on both of those rosters in Jerome Bettis and Rashard Mendenhall, who was a rookie at the time. In 2005, Bettis was in the final year of his career, however, and fellow running back Willie Parker, a former undrafted free agent, was the main runner that season. Parker also ended up being the primary during the 2008 season as well as Mendenhall was lost early in his rookie season to an injury.
Taylor isn’t believing that the Steelers will draft a running back early this year once the smoke clears. In fact, he doesn’t think they’ll draft a running back with their first three selections.
“I’m telling what they’re going to do since they didn’t sign Bud [Dupree],” Taylor said. My guesstimation, they’re going to get an outside linebacker. Bam. A d-tackle. Then you’re going to get a tight end. Bam.”
Personally, I have a feeling that Taylor is going to be way off course with that guesstimation of his and there’s a good chance the Steelers don’t select an outside linebacker, defensive tackle, or tight end with any of their first three picks. Instead, I bet one of them is used on a running back and another used on an offensive lineman. Time will tell if Taylor is right or wrong.