NFL Draft Odds: Could Najee Harris go to the Steelers?
Ben Roethlisberger needs some help but will he get it in the NFL Draft?
10:25 Saturday 24th April 2021 - 3 minute read
With the NFL Draft officially less than a week away, we now have the full plethora of draft props to choose from.
Today, let’s look at a few I like surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers had a rough go of it down the stretch last season. They started the season 11-0 before falling to the Washington Football Team. Ultimately, they went on to lose four of their last five games before falling to the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the playoffs 48-37.
Beyond what many people thought, the Steelers were able to bring back Juju Smith-Schuster at wide receiver. However, I doubt that means they want another game of Ben Roethlisberger having to throw 68 times again. In fact, I don’t think they want him getting anywhere near 45 attempts again.
That starts by getting reliable production in the run game. James Conner dealt with injuries in his time in Pittsburgh over the last few seasons after starting as a really nice story. He beat Leukemia while at the University of Pittsburgh and was made a third-round pick by the Steelers back in 2017.
Conner had a nice sophomore campaign and looked like he would be able to fill Le’Veon Bell’s shoes after Bell held out. He rushed for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns during Bell’s holdout and tallied nearly another 500 through the air on 55 receptions.
But after that, Conner never got over 721 yards in the next two seasons and missed three games last season after missing six the year before.
In Todd McShay’s latest mock draft, he has the Steelers pulling the trigger on Najee Harris at No. 24 overall. The oddsmakers seem to agree, as DraftKings has the Steelers at -125 to take a running back as the exact playing position of the team’s first drafted player.
But you could also make the argument, like Mel Kiper Jr. and Daniel Jeremiah that they look to bolster the offensive line after longtime center Maurice Pouncey retired. Kiper and Jermiah currently have the Steelers going with Teven Jenkins, an offensive tackle out of Oklahoma State.
I do think the Steelers look to the draft to help their offensive line needs, but Pouncey leaves a hole at center, so I don’t see what drafting a tackle would do to immediately help that when you could just take one of the top centers in round two.
At +250 to go offensive line, I think it would be worth a sprinkle at a quarter of a unit, but keep an eye out for the prop bet to come up to predict Harris to the Steelers exactly. The days of a mediocre rushing attack are over in the Steel City.