While many outlets and pundits have criticized the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first round selection of Alabama running back Najee Harris, one draft analyst is giving the pick high marks.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter gives the Steelers an “A” grade for taking Harris at No. 24.
“I love Harris’ game,” Reuter writes. “He has power, agility, receiving ability and a strong work ethic. The Steelers really needed to find a special back in the Le’Veon Bell mold to diversify the offense and make the most of Ben Roethlisberger’s remaining time in Pittsburgh. I figured Harris would be off the board by the time the Steelers picked, but I can’t fault GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin for taking this playmaker instead of addressing the offensive line.”
Harris is tasked with resurrecting a Steelers rushing attack that was the worst in football a season ago. He will immediately assume a heavy workload with expectations to produce as Pittsburgh’s bell cow for the foreseeable future.
While the Steelers still have holes along the offensive lines, improving the running back position was paramount entering the 2021 NFL Draft.
Pittsburgh’s infatuation with Harris was the worst kept secret of the offseason, and they got their man, selecting the top running back in the class.
Harris dominated college football during his senior season in Tuscaloosa. He rushed for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns. Harris also highlighted his improvement as a receiver, snagging 43 receptions for 425 yards and four more scores in 2020.
He earned unanimous All-American honors and was awarded the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back. He won a national championship as well with the Tide in January.