5 candidates to be the Steelers top running back in 2021

Kenneth Gainwell #19 of the Memphis Tigers. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kenneth Gainwell #19 of the Memphis Tigers. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Travis Etienne #9 of the Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Travis Etienne

Travis Etienne certainly strikes me as a ‘Matt Canada’-type of guy, as his blend of outside speed and ability to still get the job done between the tackles is something the new Steelers offensive coordinator would go nuts over. However, how much pull Canada will have in the draft process remains to be seen. Still, there’s no denying Pittsburgh’s interest in Etienne, and he may even be their most likely candidate with the 24th overall pick this year.

Pittsburgh’s brass was on hand at Clemson’s Pro Day, and both Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert were seen taking to head coach Dabo Swinney for a lengthy period of time. In addition, Etienne received a visit with the team, which is all the more reason to believe that he is high on Pittsburgh’s radar.

Etienne has been incredibly productive throughout his four-year career. While he’s not quite as big or powerful as Najee Harris, he makes up with it with noticeably more top-end speed and his slipperiness in the open field. It also might help that Etienne is a full year younger than Harris, as Pittsburgh often takes age into consideration when drafting in round one. If drafted by the Steelers this year, Etienne would immediately become the go-to back in Pittsburgh and it would be hard to keep him off the field.