Steelers Draft Study: Reasons why taking a RB early is a waste of a pick

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Here are the reasons that the Steelers using an early pick on a running back would be a waste in the 2021 draft

While the Steelers certainly have a hole at running back, the clamoring for Najee Harris in the first round has to stop. It’s not that Harris isn’t a good prospect, but the idea of taking a running back that early when the team has a plethora of needs elsewhere would be a waste of a pick. While the Steelers should draft a running back in this class, it shouldn’t be any earlier than in the second round.

Here are the reasons the Steelers can’t waste their early-round pick on a running back.

Running has become a team activity

Back in the early 2000s, having a capable back that could carry the ball 20-30 times a game was a must. Running was an essential part of the game as the quarterbacks paled in comparison to what they are today. This isn’t 2002 anymore though, and offenses are far more dynamic than what they were then. Now, a capable receiving game is far more important than a capable running game. This doesn’t mean teams don’t run, but more teams utilize entire backfields as opposed to a single bell cow.

As well, one could argue that an elite offensive line can make any running back elite. While there will always be the exception, the Steelers saw this with Le’Veon Bell a few years ago. His patient style of running mixed in with the elite offensive line play allowed him to choose the hole he wanted to hit. He had no such luck with the Jets as their line was in shambles. Likewise, Ezekiel Elliott was considered a dominant player but struggled mightily this year after his line was hurt. Running backs have value, but they aren’t worthy of a first-round pick anymore.