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Steeler Nation Writers Draft Their Preferred First Round Pick With Analysis

Sean Rayford / AP

Steeler Nation Writers Draft Their Preferred First Round Pick With Analysis

The 2021 NFL Draft is 30 days away and the Pittsburgh Steelers are set to pick 24th overall.

I polled some of the staff here at to get an idea of who we all think could be available and selected at #24 for Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and co.

Although there is a clear favorite among the writers, some of the selections may be a bit more surprising.


Justin McGonigle led the way with the most popular pick of this mock first round pick.

RB Travis Etienne (Clemson)

McGonigle’s analysis: While most Steelers fans want Najee Harris, McGonigle believes that the Steelers want Etienne’s skill set to pair with Matt Canada‘s new offense.


CJ Lester was right behind McGonigle and thinks Etienne is the right pick at #24.

Lester’s analysis: “As much as I would love to go offensive line with this pick, Etienne is too dynamic to pass on if he is there. He instantly makes the Steelers’ offense better. He’s a complete back that any offense can lean on in the rushing attack or the passing game! He would take a lot of the pressure away from Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game.”


Jobe Morrison agreed with McGonigle and Lester and took Etienne as well. Morrison described his reasoning in depth.

Morrison’s analysis: “There is room to trade back to 28-30 and get some draft capital, however, I am a big fan of Etienne at this pick. He is a productive player who is very versatile. A playmaker in the backfield is very important. Canada will have too many weapons to use at his disposal — a nice problem to have.”


Ben Michaelian and Sean McGeown were the last writers on the Etienne train.

Michaelian’s analysis: “Colbert and Tomlin met with Etienne which is a big indicator that they’re very interested. Etienne would be a great addition to the Canada scheme and also complement Benny Snell Jr.; speed vs. strength.”

McGeown’s analysis: “Etienne has size, speed and agility. He has a lot of comparisons to Alvin Kamara, who is the kind of player that would be perfect in Canada’s offense to keep defenses off balance. Steelers get their running back of the future at #24.”


Mike Stiffler was thinking offensive weaponry too, but went with a different playmaker than McGonigle, Lester, Morrison, Michaelian and McGeown.

RB Najee Harris (Alabama)

Stiffler analysis: “The Steelers QB of the future is very much an unknown, so why not center the offense around Harris until that becomes clear. He’s a complete back; power, speed hands and he’s a freak at 6’3, 230+ pounds. He can come in Day 1 and be someone defenders key in on, something they do not currently have on the roster.”


Jonathan Clark could not have agreed more with Stiffler on the selection.

Clark’s analysis: “As much as it hurts me to not go offensive line here, this year’s draft is a deep one at that particular position. Th Steelers might be able to grab one of those prospects in the second or third rounds. Harris is the dynamic running back the Steelers have been missing and he can be that guy who can take pressure off of the passing game and an aging Ben Roethlisberger. If Harris falls to the Steelers at #24, he has to be considered for a team in “win now” mode.


*It is important to note that Etienne or Harris would be the first skill player selected in the first round for the Steelers since Rashard Mendenhall in 2008.


G Stryker wandered away from the offensive side of the ball and added a new name to the mix for possible selections in the first round:

CB Jacyee Horn (University of South Carolina)

Stryker’s analysis: “Right now with Steve Nelson leaving, the biggest position of need is at cornerback. If Horn is available at #24, he is my top target.”


Matt Papiernik stayed in the secondary too, but went in a different direction.

CB Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State University)

Papiernik’s Analysis: “Samuel Jr. is a physical corner who has the versatility to play both in the slot and on the outside. He excels in man coverage, which bodes well for the Steelers defense that ran man coverage the majority of time in 2020.”


Last is my least exciting, but very crucial possible addition to this Steelers team.

OT Samuel Cosmi (Texas)

My analysis: It is no secret that the Steelers offensive line struggled down the stretch in the 2020 season. Cosmi is a big-bodied, versatile offensive tackle who could start immediately protecting Roethlisberger’s (and the quarterback of the future) blind side. This is a very deep offensive line draft, but if Cosmi is available at #24, I don’t see how the Steelers can pass up on him. He could be a staple for years to come in Pittsburgh.


Who would you take at #24, #SteelerNation? Did any of us get it right? Let us know in the comments below!



  1. Mr. K

    March 29, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    I’d go with Harris and hope that he’s half as successful as a guy with the same last name and position drafted number one 49 years ago!

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