Do the Pittsburgh Steelers have their sights set on Alabama running back Najee Harris early in the 2021 NFL Draft? It’s quite possible and especially following reports that they showed interest in him at this year’s Senior Bowl. As part of us doing a deeper dive into Harris on the heels of our full scouting report on him, today we will take a close look at his explosive runs of 10 yards or longer from the 2020 season via a complete contextualization.
As you can see in the table of data below, Harris registered 47 total runs that resulted in gains of 10 yards or longer last season. Only eight of those runs, however, resulted in gains of 20 yards or longer.
As part of the contextualization process of these 47 runs by Harris, I charted where first contact (FC), if any, took place in addition to how many broken tackles (BT) he had on each run. It goes without saying that Harris ran behind a great offensive line in 2020 and he was part of a well-oiled scheme as well. On the 47 runs from 2020 that I charted, Harris’ first contact happened 10.6 yards past the line of scrimmage, on average. That’s quite an astounding number. If you watch all 47 plays linked below, you’ll see that he had quite the runway on a good amount of these runs.
As for the broken tackles on these 47 contextualized runs by Harris in 2020, most of them took place way more than 5 yards past the original line of scrimmage. That’s not the fault of Harris, mind you, but it must be made known just the same.
While you won’t find Harris doing a lot of creating making his own way on most of these 47 runs that gained 10 yards or longer, there are a few. Perhaps his beat run of this lot of47 that best displays that on this run against Auburn. Harris also showed great vision and ability to read his blocks on this touchdown run against Auburn. Harris’ long run on this play against Notre Dame in the playoffs showed another element of the running back’s game.
There’s really not a lot to not like about Harris in this 2020 explosive play contextualization outside of possible wanting to see him have more than eight runs resulting in gains of 20 yards or longer. That noted, he did produce a large percentage of gains of 10 yards or longer in 2020, albeit with a lot of credit going to his offensive line.
If you get a chance, make sure to watch as many of these 47 runs linked below that you can.