Saturday, January 2, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Roundup, 3.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, we will update our Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Pittsburgh Steelers from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

For a more inclusive lists of mock drafts for the Pittsburgh Steelers, check out our 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Database.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Steelers:

EDSFootball - Hanson (1/1)

28. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

The Steelers rank last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (84.4) and while they rank bottom five in rush attempts (353), they also rank last in the league in yards per carry (3.6). Meanwhile James Conner, who is in the final year of his deal, has struggled to stay on the field.

As a two-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Etienne surprised many by returning to school in 2020, but he would offer the Steelers a three-down home run threat that has improved as a receiver over the past two seasons.

San Diego Union Tribune (12/31)

30. Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

It's clear Ben Roethlisberger is in the twilight of his career, but the Steelers could lose multiple starters on the offensive line in free agency and they would likely have to trade up for a quarterback. Eichenberg has been a dominant force at left tackle for the nation's best offensive line against some of the best pass rushers the country has to offer (Pitt's Patrick Jones II, Duke's Chris Rumph and the barrage Clemson throws at you). He has only allowed one hit on the quarterback this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He hasn't allowed a sack since September of 2018 -- 32 straight games.

Touchdown Wire - Schofield (12/31)

28. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Yes, the Steelers might be thinking quarterback in this draft, given that Ben Roethlisberger does seem to be nearing the end of his career. But barring a move to the top of the board somehow, protecting the passer might be another route they can take. Alejandro Villanueva has been solid at left tackle, but a few weeks ago Carl Lawson did rough him up a bit, so that is something to note. On the right side, Zach Banner won the RT spot in training camp but suffered a season-ending injury early, forcing the Steelers to turn to Chukwuma Okorafor.

In Alex Leatherwood, Pittsburgh gets a tackle who did not allow a sack two seasons ago in the SEC and has a ton of experience. Many consider him to be a potential guard in the NFL, but either way his experience and strength pair well with what the Steelers do on offense and in the running game in particular.

PFF - Gayle (12/29)

30. Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson

Veterans Steven Nelson and Joe Haden both enter the final years of their respective contracts in 2021. And while they haven't been complete liabilities at outside cornerback for Pittsburgh this season, there's opportunity for Pittsburgh to improve at the position late in the first round come April.

Kendrick is a former five-star recruit who first played wide receiver at Clemson as a true freshman in 2018. He then made the transition to outside cornerback in the spring of 2019 and never looked back. He currently ranks 26th on PFF's 2021 NFL Draft Board and has earned a 73.9 PFF coverage grade with the Tigers so far this season.

CBS Sports - Wilson (12/29)

30. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

The Steelers need to beef up the O-line but they also need to figure out how to reestablish the run. Najee Harris isn't Derrick Henry, but he has similar traits with the added ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. If Pittsburgh can find a run game that passing offense becomes much more consistent (and less predictable).

Pro Football Network - Miller (12/26)

30. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

First, elite last name. Second, kudos to Virginia Tech on the two first-round picks. Darrisaw is a long and athletic blocker who possesses a nice strike and solid anchor in pass protection.

He will need to improve his consistency and patience in his vertical sets, as he can become a bit antsy and get out over his skis, which leads to a bit of waist bending. But this is a left tackle prospect who is not far off from being a consistent product, and getting that kind of blocker with the 19th pick is outstanding value for Washington.

PFF - Renner (12/23)

28. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

Trask's 2020 season was truly a sight to behold, and if he could have gotten any help from his defense, it may be thought of in a much different light. Still, he's already tied Joe Burrow for most big-time throws by a Power 5 quarterback in a season, and he hasn't even played his bowl game yet.

Bleacher Report - Miller (12/22)

28. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

With Ben Roethlisberger announcing he'll return for the 2021 season, the Steelers don't have to rush the pick of a quarterback. And that's good news because the top players are all off the board. Instead, they'll address a backfield that's been a disappointment in the running game.

Previous update: Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Roundup 2.0

MORE TEAMS: All NFL Team Mock Draft Roundups

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