4 positions Steelers will be targeting in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft

Tommy Jaggi
Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9). Mandatory Credit: Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports
Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9). Mandatory Credit: Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne (9). Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports /

Running back

The Steeles running game was a disaster this season for more reasons than just one. However, it’s hard to ignore the lack of overall talent when we look at the running back position for Pittsburgh. While James Conner was voted to the Pro Bowl back in 2018, he has only ever proven to be an average runner who doesn’t possess a trump card. Conner was a solid third-round pick by Pittsburgh, but he isn’t someone they should tie a big second contract into.

Meanwhile, Benny Snell has been less than impressive in his second NFL season and has arguably taken a step back this year. His lack of speed and explosion is evident, and he should be a player that isn’t guaranteed a roster spot next season. Anthony McFarland has flashed at times, but it’s unlikely he will develop into a work-horse running back, while Jaylen Samuels offers very little outside of his adequate pass-catching ability.

Unfortunately, the 2021 draft class isn’t exactly loaded with running backs who are worthy of being top picks, and I’m not high at the position, to begin with. Perhaps they could go with a well-balanced runner like Clemson’s Travis Etienne, but this is a position they should probably avoid in the first. Still, it’s hard to believe Pittsburgh won’t have interest in improving running back early in the NFL Draft.