2021 NFL Draft: When was the last time the Steelers drafted a running back in the first round?

Pittsburgh Steelers vs San Diego Chargers
Pittsburgh Steelers vs San Diego Chargers
David Barry Gear

The date is April 26th, 2008. George W. Bush is the president of the United States, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the number one film at the box office, Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis is atop the Billboard charts, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are drafting a running back in the first round of the NFL draft.

It's been 13 years since the Steelers last drafted a running back in the first round of the NFL draft. Will they end the streak this Thursday?

Rashard Mendenhall - The last RB picked in the first-round pick by the Steelers

With the 23rd in the 2008 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back played 57 games in his five seasons with the Steelers. He rushed for over 1000 yards in 2009 as well as the 2010 NFL season. Mendenhall rushed for 29 touchdowns.

During his time with the Steelers, they played in two Super Bowls. Unfortunately, Mendenhall was injured and missed the Steelers' victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

Mendenhall now works in Hollywood and was a writer on the hit TV show Ballers starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Steelers NFL Draft 2021 plans

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II has been very vocal about fixing the franchises’ running game. They have the 24th pick in the first round and many NFL insiders predict they will select a running back.

Last season, the Steelers ranked last in total rushing yard attempts, 31st in rushing first downs, and 29th in rushing touchdowns. This is not acceptable for a franchise that is famous for its smashmouth running game featuring stars such as Jerome Bettis, Willie Parker and Le'Veon Bell. It would come as no surprise if they selected a running back in the first round.

The top two running backs in the draft are Alabama star Najee Harris and Clemson standout Travis Etienne. One of the two should be available at the 24th spot.

However, the Steelers have many needs to fix, including their offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger is coming back for his final season and he needs to be protected.

Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey retired and they lost starting right tackle Matt Feiler in free agency to the LA Chargers. It would also make sense to pick an offensive tackle or guard to sure up the offensive line.

We will have to wait and see what the Steelers management team decides on draft day. After a 13-year wait, the Steelers could finally use a first-round draft pick to select a running back.

Edited by Jay Lokegaonkar
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