4 reasons Steelers won’t draft RB Najee Harris in first round

Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Running back Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Steelers have drafted just 1 first-round RB in the last 31 years

If we are simply playing the odds here, I don’t think the Steelers have a very good chance of taking Najee Harris strictly on how they have valued the running back position in the past. Even when Pittsburgh was a much more run-heavy team, they didn’t take their lead back in the first round.

The only exception to the mold in the entire Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin era was Rashard Mendenhall back in 2008. In what turned out to be a very lackluster draft class by Pittsburgh, Mendenhall went on to earn just two 1,000-yard seasons for the Black and Gold while surpassing 10 touchdowns just once in 2010. He played just five seasons with the team before eventually retiring with the Arizona Cardinals at the age of 26.

Obviously, this is just one example, but the fact that Pittsburgh has only felt the need to draft one first-round running back in the last 31 years is telling – especially considering that today’s game is much more of a passing. Art Rooney II has been vocal about wanting to improve the run game, but maybe that means taking an offensive lineman in the first instead.