ESPN 3-Round Mock Draft Has Steelers Going RB, OL, CB

Najee Harris and Landon Dickerson

Are you experiencing mock draft withdrawal? If so, then you have much bigger problems than we can possibly solve. But we do try to bring to you the most relevant and pertinent of the mock draft coverages that we come across this offseason from the major outlets.

One of the latest mock drafts is from ESPN’s Insider department with Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, putting together a three-round mock draft, which of course will cover the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first three draft picks.

It’s McShay on deck for the Steelers in the first round, and he opts to go with Alabama’s Najee Harris at running back, which should come as no surprise to anybody given the buzz around this pairing. “Pittsburgh’s 3.6 yards per carry ranked last in the NFL in 2020, and it just lost its most productive rusher in James Conner,” he writes. “Mel might not like first-round running backs, but this makes too much sense.” Harris is given a 77.3 percent chance of being available at 24.

Moving ahead to Round 2 of ESPN’s mock, Kiper’s at the helm when the Steelers are on the clock. He is addressing their largest remaining need along the offensive line, sticking with the Crimson Tide and adding Alex Leatherwood, the guard/tackle out of Alabama.

“I don’t think Leatherwood is a top-50 player, but he’s a fit for Pittsburgh, which needs both a guard and tackle,” he writes, and the Steelers pick at 55 anyway. “If McShay is giving the Steelers a running back in Round 1, I need to get them a player to block.”

I think coming away with a running back and an offensive lineman out of the first two rounds would please the majority of Steeler fans. But where do they go next after that? Kiper is on the clock again for the team in round three, and he turns to the defense.

This time, it’s Shaun Wade, the cornerback out of Ohio State. “Wade got some first-round buzz after the 2019 season, but he had a poor 2020 season, when he moved out wide and covered the opposing team’s best receiver,” he writes. “He’s better out of the slot, and if he can get back to his 2019 form, he could be a steal.”

Cornerback was among the positions hit the hardest this offseason with the release of Steven Nelson and the free agency departure of Mike Hilton. If they could draft somebody who could immediately step in at the slot cornerback position, that would certainly be welcome, and he profiles as somebody who can play outside as well in the future.

Of course, that still leaves needs of varying degrees in other areas like tight end, outside linebacker, and safety. But we’ve all seen a lot worse mock drafts than this one. I think I would be content if it played out in this fashion. What do you think?

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