Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh doesn’t hide their interests early

Running back Travis Etienne #9 of the Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Running back Travis Etienne #9 of the Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
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The Steelers have a lot of needs to fill on the offensive side of the ball, and I don’t have them hiding their interests in my latest NFL mock draft. 

NFL Pro Days have started and the Steelers are making no effort to hide their interests this offseason. After finishing dead last in the league in rushing in 2020, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Art Rooney II each told the media that fixing the running game is one of their top priorities, and there are going to be changes on offense.

While it’s still fairly early in the process, the Steelers have taken a clear interest in some of the top running backs and offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft. Based on their visits so far, they aren’t straying from the words they spoke immediately following the season; they are actively looking for ways to fix the offense. Here is what I have Pittsburgh doing in my latest seven-round Steelers mock draft:

Steelers mock draft round 1: Travis Etienne

This pick shouldn’t come as a surprise by anyone. While the Steelers have shockingly taken just one first-round running back in the last 31 years (Rashard Mendenhall), the stars are aligning for them do to exactly that in 2021. Though we could debate all day about whether running backs should be drafted in the first round, Travis Etienne is one of the better backs to come out over the past three years, and the Steelers clearly have an interest.

Tomlin, Colbert, and new offensive coordinator Matt Canada were all on hand for Clemson’s Pro Day on March 11th, and the fact that they added a virtual visit with Etienne just adds more reason to believe why he will be in strong contention for the pick at 24. The Clemson star has had phenomenal college production and has the speed to go the distance. This is something Pittsburgh desperately needs at running back.