The Steelers selected Alabama running back Najee Harris in the first round with pick No. 24, and their game plan going into the new season is to redefine a backfield that has reeled ever since Le’Veon left town.
After a handful of seasons with an on and off James Conner — who should be fully commended for his fight against cancer — Harris may have to shoulder the 200+ carries of Bell’s first season in Pittsburgh.
Making a scene out of his freakishly dense set of quads and calves, Harris’ swagger as a rookie makes him over-qualified for lesser teams, but with the Steelers, Harris has enough of a foundation to be a 1,000+ yard rusher in his debut year.
With an elite head coach, quasi-QB1 Ben Roethlisberger — who still outplays the majority of starting QBs — and a defense built on the back of T.J. Watt, Harris could be the X-factor for a potential playoff push in Pittsburgh.
Though he has adept field awareness and running power that can push through gaps or slivers on the offensive line, Harris also has equal ability as a pass-catcher, which makes the man a dual-threat not seen in Pittsburgh since Bell departed.
Harris could certainly be one of the better overall rookie prospects coming out of the 2021 NFL Draft, especially since the running back reportedly puts in so much time watching film that the coaching staff has to kick him out of the film room.
Harris continues to learn the Pittsburgh playbook and help new offensive coordinator Matt Canada get the most out of an aging Roethlisberger, and he has the tools in place to land him in the Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry echelon of NFL RBs.