With nearly 24 hours remaining before the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, Alabama running back Najee Harris appears to be the odds-on favorite to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first round selection at 24th overall. In fact, it seems like it would be a bit of an upset at this point if he’s not the pick, because of so many mocks and draftniks having it playing out that way. Longtime NFL insider John Clayton, however, doesn’t believe Harris will wind up being the Steelers’ pick and he gave his reason for that on Wednesday during his weekly interview on 93.7 The Fan.
“I don’t and the reason is, I think he’s going to be gone,” Clayton said of Harris possibly being the Steelers first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. “I think the Miami Dolphins either take him at 18 or even trade down a few spots ahead of the Jets or the Steelers and Najee Harris goes to the Miami Dolphins.”
Clayton’s speculation isn’t that crazy, as there has been some speculation for several weeks now that either the Miami Dolphins or the New York Jets might draft Harris before the Steelers go on the clock in the first round Thursday night.
While Clayton thinks that a team could draft Harris ahead of the Steelers’ first round pick Thursday night, he could still see the team drafting a different running back in the first round.
“They very well could,” Clayton said of the chances the Steelers might still pick a running back in the first round if Harris is already gone. “I mean, the Travis Etienne is I think somebody that they’ll look at. I don’t know if they’ll definitely take him or not, because they still have issues on the offensive line, but I think that they can maybe get offensive line help in the second round, third round, all those different things. So, right now, when I did my mock draft for The Washington Post, I had them taking a running back, Travis Etienne.”
So, what about the possibility of the Steelers going defense in the first round and selecting Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins, another player mocked to the Steelers in the first round quite a bit this offseason?
“Yeah. I mean, that’s possible because again, he’s a good linebacker,” Clayton said of Collins. “And you know, I know he’s a guy that the Cleveland Browns are looking at. Depending on what they do at linebacker now that they’ve got Jadeveon Clowney. So, yeah. I mean, I think that that could be a candidate. But now the question is, do you take a running back, do you take an offensive lineman, or do you take Collins?”
That’s the million-dollar question, John, and one we should get an answer to by late Thursday night. Clayton, however, firmly believes the Steelers will go with Clemson running back Travis Etienne in the first round Thursday night.
“Yes, I think it’s going to be Travis Etienne right now,” Clayton ended his interview with.