NFL Draft

La Canfora: ‘Don’t Count On Steelers Taking A First-Round RB’

Najee Harris, Travis Etienne

With less than two weeks remaining until the 2021 NFL Draft gets underway in Cleveland, you would be hard-pressed to find very many people not convinced that the Pittsburgh Steelers will select a running back with one of their first two picks. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently all but guaranteed that the Steelers will select a running back in the first two rounds. As for them doing so in the first round specifically, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote Monday morning that he doesn’t believe that’s a lock to happen.

“Color me among those skeptical the Steelers take a running back in the first round,” La Canfora wrote in his weekly Monday offering. “They have holes aplenty, and that cannot possibly be lost on them, and unless that offensive line is truly fixed and improving, the pass and run game are going to suffer.”

If the Steelers were to end up drafting a running back in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, many believe that player would ultimately be either Alabama’s Najee Harris or Clemson Travis Etienne. La Canfora, however, believes there’s a good chance that Harris will be off the board by the time the Steelers pick 24th overall in the first round. He thinks the Miami Dolphins might select Harris at 18th overall.

“I continue to get the sense the Dolphins are very serious about Najee Harris at 18, anyway, and while someone like Travis Etienne would intrigue them [the Steelers], an RB pick that high is a luxury they probably cannot afford,” La Canfora speculated. “Etienne on Day 2, I could certainly see, but this team needs help in the trenches, and at pass rusher, and at corner, and need matters when you are trying to win one last time with a quarterback who may already be past his expiration date. I’d take a quarterback before a running back if I was running that draft, and I’d take at least another position or two before I go with an RB, given how plentiful they always are.”

If La Canfora is right and the Dolphins do wind up drafting Harris, it would then be interesting to see if the Steelers would pass on Etienne. Assuming he is still on the board at 24th overall. As for Etienne falling to the Steelers in the second round, there probably aren’t many draftniks that would bet on such a drop happening.

As for the rest of what La Canfora wrote, would the Steelers really use their second-round selection on a quarterback? Especially if they failed to draft a running back in the first round? Personally, that happening would shock me.The Steelers drafting a quarterback in the first two rounds, period would shock me. As for the Steelers maybe drafting a quarterback in Rounds 3 or 4, I think it is plausible. Though, I hope they don’t do it.

Should the Steelers choose not to draft a running back in the first round, and assuming Etienne doesn’t fall to them in the second round, it certainly would seem like the chances of them then drafting North Carolina’s Javonte Williams or Ohio State’s Trey Sermon in Rounds 2 or 3 would increase dramatically.

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