Running backs Steelers must consider taking in the 2021 NFL Draft

Javonte Williams #25 of the North Carolina Tar Heels. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Javonte Williams #25 of the North Carolina Tar Heels. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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North Carolina Tar Heels running back Javonte Williams (25). Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 2:

Javonte Williams, North Carolina 

Though he had a relatively small sample size in college, Javonte Williams is more explosive and significantly younger than Najee Harris (he turns just 21 by the draft). Williams has half the college workload of Harris, but that shouldn’t be a bad thing.

At 5’10” and 220 pounds, Williams has an ideal frame to be an every-down back in the NFL. Williams is scheme versatile and would be a tremendous fit in Matt Canada’s offense. He would be an instant and obvious improvement over James Conner in 2021.

Najee Harris, Alabama

It’s not that I’m down on Najee Harris, I just think many fans are overrating him a bit. Though he’s likely to be a very solid NFL running back, I can’t justify spending a first-round pick on an old, slow player at a position that isn’t nearly as important in today’s NFL as it used to be.

Having said that, Harris would be an excellent second-round option (assuming he falls this far). He has a skill set that is similar to that of Steven Jackson coming out of Oregon State back in 2004 – a powerful runner with some wiggle, but not a lot of top-end speed. Considering that players like Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, and J.K. Dobbins all fell to the second round last year, this is also the range that Harris should be drafted.