NFL Draft

Report: Steelers Showing Early Interest In Alabama RB Najee Harris At Senior Bowl

The 2021 Senior Bowl week is now underway in Mobile, AL and that means throughout this week we’ll hear a few reports about the Pittsburgh Steelers and specifically players they seem to be interested in.

On Tuesday, PFN Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline filed a report and it he claims that Alabama running back Najee Harris is drawing the early attention of two teams in particular at the Senior Bowl, the Steelers, and the Miami Dolphins.

Harris, who measured in at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday at 6017, 230-pounds with 33 3/8-inch arms and 10-inch hands, is not expected to take part in practices this week, per Pauline. If that happens, odds are good that Harris will not play in Senior Bowl game on Saturday.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who is also in Mobile this week for the Senior Bowl, has Harris ranked 22nd overall on his top 50 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings that he released Tuesday morning. Below is Jeremiah’s early thoughts on Harris.

Harris is a big, smooth running back who posted outstanding production during his Alabama career. He is very patient to let holes develop before sliding through the line of scrimmage on inside runs. He has tremendous contact balance, routinely absorbing a hit and finishing runs. He doesn’t have the juice to really stretch to the boundary on outside runs, preferring to quickly get his shoulders squared and turn upfield. He is sneaky elusive in space, though, and can drop his shoulder to run through tacklers. He’s an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield. He runs clean routes and has the ability to high-point the ball down the field. He’s aware and dependable in pass protection. Overall, Harris isn’t a home run hitter, but he’s a very skilled runner with excellent value in the passing game. I see similarities to former Chicago Bears star Matt Forte when he was coming out of college.

Obviously, Harris could be in play for the Steelers at 24th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and especially if the team is set on selecting a top-rated running back early. The Steelers running game has been miserable the last several seasons for starters and on top of that, the only real locks they have to be back at the running back position in 2021 is Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland Jr.

During the 2020 season, Harris rushed for 1,387 yards and 24 touchdowns and he also caught 36 passes for another 346 yards and three touchdowns. For his college career, Harris rushed for 3,764 yards and 44 touchdowns in addition to catching 73 passes for 702 yards and another 10 touchdowns. Harris also registered 26 runs of 20 yards or longer during his college career at Alabama. It’s worth noting that Harris will reportedly turn 23 years of age in March.

It’s worth noting that the last time the Steelers selected a running back in the first-round of an NFL draft was in 2008 when they picked Rashard Mendenhall at 23rd overall.

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