Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris hasn’t forgot about the criticism that was heaped on him during his draft day last year, and especially holds a grudge against Pro Football Focus for naming him the worst first-round draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Harris spoke to the New York Post about his dislike for PFF while volunteering at a Pittsburgh Public school, where he surprised students by coaching a youth football game.
“Well, everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” Harris told The Post, laughing. “I hate PFF too.”
The 2021 draft pick of Harris was criticized for the position that Harris plays. Many, at the time, gave the Steelers’ a low draft grade with an emphasis of the pick of a running back, a position widely seen as replaceable in the NFL.
“I mean, there were some people who didn’t like the pick and there are some people who did,” Harris said to the Post. “What matters is, I got picked. So, what am I going to do next? Do I come in there and show that I was a bust, or are you going to come in there and take over and show them why a [running back] was picked in the first round. And some people might not think I even did that, too, which is cool. I guess everybody’s entitled to their opinion.
“But personally, I’m going to do everything I can to help the team out, so my teammates and coaches and GM to know that it wasn’t a bad pick. And I appreciate [the Steelers] for even taking a running back in the first round. But I saw that. I mean, it’s cool. I just laugh at it. I put that with all the other stuff that they say bad about me and you’re not going to get rid of that stuff. So it’s cool. I like it, actually.”
Harris played well last season despite being behind PFF’s 26th rated offensive line. Harris put together a 1,200 rushing-yard season with seven touchdowns on 307 carries. He was also very valuable in the passing game as he caught 74 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns. His 980 offensive snaps during the regular season were 170 more than any other running back.