Ranking the Room: Who is the top running back for the Steelers in 2024?

We continue with our room ranking this offseason as the Steelers RBs are broken down and dissected before training camp.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30) / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

With July officially here, I will be taking the time to rank the Steelers roster by positional group before training camp gets underway. The ultimate goal will be to create a ranked list of every play on the roster before camp gets started.

The rankings will be a mix of criteria. Mainly, I am looking at what players will put the Steelers in the best position to win this year. While long-term potential is considered, I care less about what a player can provide in 2025 as opposed to what they can do for the team this year. For rookies, their level of pro-readiness will be taken into account as well as their projection on the roster. We are continuing with the running backs today, and this group is entirely new.

Steelers eight running backs ranked

8. Aaron Shampklin

The back end of this room is interesting, as the Steelers could carry four running backs here. That last running back will have to be great on special teams though as well as a potential contributor on offense. Unfortunately for Aaron Shampklin, he doesn’t have a history of either. He has been around for a few years but has yet to make an impact anywhere. He’s low on the totem pole and may not even make it out of training camp.

7. La’Mical Perine

I went back and forth with the next few names, as I think they all could make a roster push if this team keeps a fourth running back. While La’Mical Perine has the most pedigree, his career has not panned out. I like his size, but I’m not sure he has what it takes to be the fourth running back on this roster. At least he played some special teams last year.

6. Jack Colletto

A true fullback isn’t on the roster, as most expect Connor Heyward to serve in that role. That said, I think Jack Colletto could make his case there given the numerous different positions he has played. He should shine on special teams, and even if the team is content with just three running backs, he could force their hand due to his special team's potential.

5. Daijun Edwards

I wanted to notch Daijun Edwards higher than this, but we need to see him play first. That said, he profiles as a potential sleeper for this team. He runs a lot like Jaylen Warren and is hard to bring down. He is also a capable receiver and blocker. I think he can shine on offense during the preseason and if he can do his part on special teams, he could sneak onto the Steelers.

4. Jonathan Ward

While I think Edwards can be a great fit as a fourth running back on this roster, Jonathan Ward has already proved it. He has only had a cup of coffee in the NFL, but he has contributed as a runner and receiver and on special teams. He would be in the driver’s seat for the fourth running back spot, but that spot is far from secure.

3. Cordarrelle Patterson

This was arguably the easiest position to slot for this season. Cordarrelle Patterson is the best third running back on this roster in some time. He can serve as a traditional running back, play as a receiver, and most importantly, is a potent kick returner. He should wear a lot of hats this season and is arguably the Steelers most underrated signing this offseason.

2. Najee Harris

Call it controversial, but I don’t think that Najee Harris is the best fit for this offense. Let me be clear: Harris is a co-starter and serves an important role, but he is an inefficient power back who can wear down defenses but fails to create the big play. He is poised for a big season behind this new offensive line, but I prefer a back who can create more on their own.

1. Jaylen Warren

While he will share this role with Harris, the Steelers struck gold when they signed Warren as an undrafted free agent. He quickly earned a role and has been impossible to keep off the field. He has a small and compact frame like a bowling ball. He can make defenders miss in space and run over them as well.

dark. Next. Odds of Steelers trading for this star receiver are falling apart. Odds of Steelers trading for this star receiver are falling apart

Warren can also serve as a receiver and blocker, which has entrenched him as the third down back for this team. No, Warren shouldn’t be the only back getting work, but I think he fits what this offense needs slightly better than Harris. Regardless of how you rank them, both Warren and Harris figure to be key contributors to this team in 2024.