Ryan Lippert’s 2021 4-Round Steelers Mock Draft
Football fans, the time is finally here! The 2021 NFL Draft will be officially underway on Thursday night and I couldn’t be more excited. This is a very exciting draft class with a ton of talent and potential from top to bottom.
For the Steelers, this draft gives them a perfect opportunity to build on what I believe to still be a very strong roster. While that roster is strong, there are still some holes to be filled if they want to continue to compete at a high level.
With that being said, here is who I believe, or at least hope, the Pittsburgh Steelers will select in the first four rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
First Round (24): Najee Harris – RB (Alabama)
This is going be an unpopular opinion with some fans as taking a running back in the first round can be risky. Even with that in mind, I am all in on taking Harris if he is there at this spot.
The Steelers haven’t had an elite running back since Le’Veon Bell’s departure and it has shown. Harris is the clear cut top back in my eyes in this draft class as he is a big back that will punish defenders but also has impressive speed and elusiveness in the open field.
Harris would come in right away and be the lead back for the Steelers.
He would truly make the Steelers offense balanced, as that was simply not the case last year. With what looks to be more than likely one more year with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Harris will be a key piece in helping make one last run at a Super Bowl with him.
He also helps in the future whether the Steelers draft a QB or find an inexperienced starter to move into Ben’s spot as he is the type of running back that can carry a huge load for an offense and help that quarterback to be able to simply be a game manager while he continues to grow.
I understand that we do need some help on the offensive line but honestly the Steelers front isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be. I firmly believe they can get their new starting center in the second or third round.
Also, I don’t believe they need a tackle to start right away but this tackle class is deep enough where they can find a reliable prospect that can eventually become a starter in a mid round.
I will be truly jumping for joy if they land Harris and hope the rest of Steeler Nation will come to their senses and join me!
Also Considered: Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson), Teven Jenkins (OT, Oklahoma St), Greg Newsome II (CB, Northwestern)
Second Round (55): Quinn Meinerz – C (Wisconsin – Whitewater)
Speaking of a new starting center, here’s our guy!
I would be very happy with any of my top three centers in Landon Dickerson, Creed Humphrey, and Meinerz – but Meinerz is who I believe will most likely fall to this spot.
Meinerz is a Division III product but has become a household name to anyone who follows the draft after a strong performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He is an extremely powerful, aggressive center that is also an impressive athlete that can be relied on as both a run blocker and in pass protection.
It also speaks volumes to me that Steelers’ offensive line coach Adrian Klemm ran him through drills at his Pro Day.
Meinerz would be plugged in as the Day 1 starter and while he may not be Maurkice Pouncey yet, he is a great start towards replacing him.
Also Considered: Landon Dickerson (C, Alabama), Creed Humphrey (C, Oklahoma), Dillon Radunz (OT, North Dakota St)
Third Round (87): Spencer Brown – OT (Northern Iowa)
As I said earlier, the offensive tackle class is very deep this year. If Harris doesn’t fall, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Steelers grab one in the first round – but if Harris is there, they can wait until later.
Spencer Brown gives them great value and potential at this spot in the draft.
Like Meinerz, Brown took advantage of his opportunities at the Senior Bowl. He is an athletic tackle that is very smooth and reliable in his pass sets. Brown also has the strength to be successful as a run blocker.
Brown projects best as a right tackle which is where he started at Northern Iowa. He would come in and sit behind Zach Banner at that spot for the Steelers with a chance to be in the rotation and develop.
I can easily see Brown being the eventual starter at right tackle and who knows, he could develop into a player that could be moved to the left side as well.
Also Considered: Walker Little (OT, Stanford), Brady Christensen (OT, BYU), Kenneth Gainwell (RB, Memphis)
Fourth Round (128): Tommy Tremble – TE (Notre Dame)
Unless a top corner falls in an early round, I truly believe that the Steelers will go offense-heavy in the beginning of their draft. This pick could be more of a wishful thinking pick is there is a chance that Tremble doesn’t drop this low.
While the Steelers have their athletic, pass catching tight end that can stretch the field in Eric Ebron, they need a TE2 that can be more of a blocker and that they can develop towards being their guy of the future.
Tommy Tremble fits that description perfectly. He is arguably the best blocking tight end in this class and can also provide some value as a pass catcher when called on. Tremble could be used frequently in two tight end sets to help open up the run game for whoever the Steelers’ new running back is.
I also simply believe he fits the mold for the Steelers at tight end – left behind by Heath Miller – as a hard-nosed tight end that can block and also serve as a security blanket for the quarterback.
This would be a very high-quality pick for the Steelers in the fourth and could turn into a huge steal for them as his career progresses.
Also Considered: Drake Jackson (C, Kentucky), Dylan Moses (LB, Alabama), Anthony Schwartz (WR, Auburn)
Fourth Round (140): Benjamin St. Juste – CB (Minnesota)
Finally, some help on the defensive side of the ball for the Steelers. After moving from Steven Nelson, the Steelers will need to add some depth at the outside corner spot alongside Joe Haden.
If Benjamin St. Juste falls to this spot, the Steelers will have found yet another mid-round steal that can help fill that void quickly.
St. Juste is a lengthy outside cornerback who is tremendous in man coverage with great strength in press situations and very good ball skills. I also like how he closes quickly against the run and is a solid tackler. He also played in a variety of different coverages at Minnesota which will help him adjust at the next level.
While he does look the part, he does have some technique issues to work on. Luckily, I think he will have time to develop and grow in those weak areas on the Steelers.
The Steelers have reliable corners in James Pierre, Cameron Sutton, and Justin Layne (barring legal issues) that can fill in that role. However, if he can show improvements and has a strong showing in camp and in practice, St. Juste could see his role increase sooner rather than later.
Also Considered: Trey Hill (C, Georgia), Cameron Sample (EDGE, Tulane), Tony Fields II (LB, West Virginia)
Overall, this would be a great first four rounds for the Steelers. Major holes are filled with three rounds still left in the draft.
In the later rounds, I see the Steelers addressing more defense with some linebacker and edge depth. I can also see them taking another weapon at receiver, some interior offensive line depth, or possibly even a punter like Kentucky’s Max Duffy (if they feel like the value is there).
When it is all said and done, I know all of these picks won’t happen the way I want them to but I trust whoever Kevin Colbert and the Steelers’ front office decides to add to this roster.