Steelers Rumors: Najee Harris, Zaven Collins Interest PIT with No. 24 Draft Pick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2021

National Team running back Najee Harris of Alabama (22) walks to the sideline during the National team practice for the NCAA college Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to select Alabama running back Najee Harris or Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins with the No. 24 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

Florio previously reported the Arizona Cardinals could look at Collins with the 16th selection if cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II of Alabama and Jaycee Horn of South Carolina and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle of Alabama are off the board.

The Steelers ranked last in both rushing yards (84.4 per game) and yards per carry (3.6) in 2020. James Conner has struggled to match his 2018 production (1,470 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns), which propelled him to the Pro Bowl, and fourth-round picks Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland Jr. haven't improved the backfield.

Upon becoming the Crimson Tide's primary ball-carrier, Harris ran for 2,690 yards and 39 touchdowns in his final two seasons. He also caught 70 passes for 729 yards and 11 scores.

Teams can often find a lot of value with running backs after the first round, but the Steelers would be smart to add Harris on Day 1.

Collins, meanwhile, had 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and four interceptions in eight games with the Golden Hurricane last year. In the B/R NFL scouting department's final big board, he ranked 24th overall and was the third-best linebacker behind Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Penn State's Micah Parsons.

Pittsburgh linebacker Devin Bush suffered a torn left ACL in Week 6 last year, while Vince Williams and Robert Spillane are solid options at inside linebacker but leave the Steelers plenty of room to upgrade. Especially with question marks about Bush following his injury, Collins would help shore up the position.