4 reasons Steelers shouldn’t be sniffing a RB in the first round of the NFL Draft

Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell (24). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

For lack of a better term, running backs don’t matter

We could sit here and argue all day about the value of the running back position in today’s NFL, but there is no denying that running backs are a product of what is in front of them. Take the 49ers for instance. Without investing hardly any draft capital at the position, San Francisco has found a way for no-name playevb rs like Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson to be successful last year (the two combined for 1,121 yards, 9 touchdowns, and almost 5.0 yards per carry). This isn’t because these are great players, but because their stretch zone scheme and offensive line help them out.

If you were to put Mostert on the Steelers last year, I’m willing to bet that he doesn’t look any better than any other running back on the team. While I understand that Pittsburgh doesn’t have the greatest running backs and that they are in need of an upgrade, perhaps we are all being too hard on players like Benny Snell and James Conner. If you watched the same games I did last year, you could see what type of tough sledding they were dealing with on the ground.

Don’t get me wrong: running games matter and are a very important part of a successful offense. However, there is little evidence to support that the individual running backs matter much in today’s game.

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I know half of all Steelers fans will be thrilled if they wind up with a player like Najee Harris or Travis Etienne on the opening night of the 2021 NFL Draft, but I truly believe that taking a running back in the first round is not at all what would be best for Pittsburgh. With so many other needs at more important positions and a lack of evidence that running backs are worth taking in the first round, I don’t the Steelers should even be sniffing the running back position in round one.