For as much as the Pittsburgh Steelers seem enamored with Alabama RB Najee Harris, this CBS mock draft is one of the few national mocks linking the two together. Ryan Wilson’s latest mock draft for CBS has Harris going to the Steelers at #24 overall.
Here’s what he writes in his explanation for the pick.
“The Steelers need to beef up the O-line, but they also need to figure out how to re-establish the run. Najee Harris isn’t Derrick Henry, but he has similar traits with the added ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. If Pittsburgh can find a run game, their passing offense becomes much more consistent (and less predictable).”
A fair evaluation all around. Offensive line needs to be a focus this offseason especially in light of Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement but the team will have to wrestle with taking potentially the #4/#5 offensive tackle versus the top back in the draft. From a talent/grade standpoint, Harris could win out.
He would be a great fit in Pittsburgh’s offense. In my scouting report, I compared Harris to Le’Veon Bell due to their mix of size, athleticism, catching ability, and sturdy pass protection. The Steelers prioritize backs who were productive in college and Harris certainly fits that bill. Over the past two seasons, Harris has rushed for just under 2700 yards and 50 total touchdowns, 39 on the ground and 11 by air.
When it comes to drafting Harris, it’s a question of if he’ll fall that far. But over the last three drafts, the first RB hasn’t gone off the board until at least #24, exactly where Pittsburgh will be picking this April.
However they attack it, the Steelers will do everything they can to boost their league-worst run game. A total inability to run the football was one reason for the team’s collapse down the stretch, struggling situationally. No team was worse in short-yardage areas this past season.
Elsewhere in the CBS mock draft, three quarterbacks go in the top five, including Mac Jones surprisingly sneaking into the top five and TE Kyle Pitts being selected all the way at #5 by the Cincinnati Bengals. Harris was the only running back to be mocked in Round #1. After him, Clemson’s Travis Etienne is the runner most likely to hear his name called.
Check out our scouting report on Harris below.