Steelers eyeing Najee Harris, Zaven Collins with pick No. 24

If you’re an NFL team that wants either running back Najee Harris or linebacker Zaven Collins on Thursday night and you pick below No. 24 in round one, you may need to trade up.

A source with knowledge of the dynamics driving the 2021 draft tells PFT that the Steelers are expected to take Harris or Collins, if either is there. The Cardinals are expected to take Collins at No. 16, if cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn and receiver Jaylen Waddle are gone.

If both are there, we’ll see who they take. Collins could be the choice, given that plenty of other running backs can be found in later rounds of the draft.

The one and only PFT mock draft has North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance falling to No. 24, and the Steelers taking him. If he’s indeed there, it could be tempting to try to secure Ben Roethlisberger‘s successor. To get the most out of what could be Roethlisberger’s last year, the Steelers would be better off getting a running back with the kind of impact that Franco Harris had in 1972.

The Steelers have used 24 first-round picks on running backs or fullbacks. Since the merger, the Steelers have used a first-round pick on five running backs: Harris, Greg Hawthorne in 1979, Walter Abercrombie in 1982, Tim Worley in 1989, and Rashard Mendenhall in 2008.