The Pittsburgh Steelers are starting to turn the page from the NFL free agency frenzy to buckling up for a crazy NFL Draft journey. They are currently set to pick at number 24 overall in the upcoming draft and they could go a multitude of different ways.
Pittsburgh took some major blows to their roster this offseason, but they also re-signed and signed some top-tier talent. The Steelers have had to roll with the punches thus far this offseason, but they will be looking forward to the NFL Draft where they can have some extra control.
The Steelers have a good core to try to repeat their success from 2020 and they will be looking to add some talent to the roster in the NFL Draft. Ben Roethlisberger will be back under center, JuJu Smith-Schuster will be dancing on logos near you, and Chase Claypool will be hauling in passes for the Steelers in 2021 as well.
The team has a lot of potential to be great yet again in 2021, but they’ll need to add some assurance. Let’s take a look at three intriguing prospects the Steelers should draft in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Number One: Alex Leatherwood, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The Steelers have no choice but to address their offensive line woes in the upcoming NFL Draft and they could have their sights set on Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood. Leatherwood, who stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 320 pounds, would be an appealing offensive tackle option for the Steelers to consider.
Leatherwood has been my projected pick to the Steelers since the NFL Draft order was announced because he would fit like a glove in their offense. He is as fundamentally sound as they come and his experience with a talented Alabama team could convince the Steelers to pull the trigger on the Consensus All-American.
He would be an anchor to help re-create the Pittsburgh offensive line and he would surely be a great addition to the team. Leatherwood has a great punch off the line of scrimmage and excels in pass blocking. Don’t be surprised if Leatherwood is the pick for Pittsburgh in the first round.
Number Two: Travis Etienne, Running Back, Clemson
The Steelers need to add a formidable running back to their roster and they could look to address that need in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Steelers don’t seem very inclined to re-sign free agent running back James Conner and the team has done very little to add a true number one running back to the roster. That could all change with the addition of Clemson running back Travis Etienne.
Etienne is a two-time Heisman Trophy top-10 finalist for Clemson and he could be an elite talent for the Steelers to consider drafting. He has a knack for making a play with the ball in his hands and he could be very similar to what Le’Veon Bell was for the Steelers a few years back.
He ran the ball 686 times in his Clemson career for 4,952 rushing yards (7.2 yards per carry) and scored 70 rushing touchdowns. Etienne also hauled in 102 receptions for 1,155 yards and an additional eight touchdowns through the air. He is a touchdown machine and the Steelers could use a back of his caliber toting the rock.
Number Three: Teven Jenkins, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State
The Steelers need to keep their primary focus on re-investing in the offensive line and they could make an outstanding investment in Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins. Jenkins is one of the best offensive tackle prospects on my personal big board and he has the potential to be a multiple time Pro Bowler for a team like the Steelers.
Jenkins, who stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 320 pounds, is hands down one of the most aggressive offensive tackles I’ve ever studied. He has an aggressive first punch off the line of scrimmage and he is the best offensive tackle at timing the snap perfectly, which allows him to have an edge and barely get beat off the line of scrimmage.
He would certainly be the best-case scenario for the Steelers, who need a plug and play guy to take over on their offensive line. If the Steelers draft Jenkins, they could have their next superstar lineman to build around for years to come.