With the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Najee Harris, running back out of the University of Alabama. Just like every mock draft ever created, Harris will head to Pittsburgh. Arguably the best running back in this draft, he will provide consistency to the Steelers backfield with James Conner leaving through free agency. Built similarly to Derrick Henry, Harris will be an immediate threat to opposing defenses.
Najee Harris Highlights
Najee Harris NFL Draft Profile and Stats
Position: Running Back
Weight: 230 lbs
College: Alabama Crimson Tide
Najee Harris 2020 Stats
- Attempts: 251
- Yards: 1466
- Average Yards per Carry: 5.8
- Touchdowns: 26
- Receptions: 43
- Yards: 425
- Average Yards per Reception: 9.9
- Touchdowns: 4
Najee Harris Draft Profile
Najee Harris played a key role in Alabama’s run to the College Football Playoff National Championship. He was electric in both postseason games, something that Crimson Tide fans were used to seeing on a weekly basis in Tuscaloosa. At 6’6″, 230 lbs, Harris is no easy running back to tackle. He complements his physical attributes with a determined running style. He is good at leaning forward and finishing carries through contact as opposed to running on his heels. Harris also worked hard to improve his pass-catching abilities during his four years at Alabama. A physical runner with the ability to pop out of the backfield as a receiver can be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
When it comes to Harris’ tendencies as a runner, he wasn’t always great about displaying patience. Failure to wait for his offensive linemen to create lanes led to a number of plays being shut down in the act. Speaking of carries, Harris had a whole lot of them at Alabama. His 251 totes as a senior this past season brought his collegiate total to 638. Keep in mind that all of those were in the SEC too, which is as close to pro football as it gets. With the lifespan of NFL running backs being shorter than that of any other position, such a heavy college workload could give some teams pause. Harris was not afraid to take on opposing defenders in college. While that’s fine for creating highlights, he may stand well to scoot out of bounds and preserve his body a little more at the NFL level.
What to Expect from Harris in 2021
The Steelers obviously needed to address the running back position, after a terrible season on the ground in 2020. Harris is a powerful runner that is a clear Day 1 starter and shouldn’t have to worry about Benny Snell Jr. taking any of his carries. He is the clear rookie RB1 and will likely carry a huge workload to take the pressure off the depleted Ben Roethlisberger. His college workload was a concern for many scouts leading up to this draft, so his longevity is in question but he’ll provide an immediate spark to the Steelers offense and will likely put up big numbers. Harris is also a great receiving back and that’s a major upside.