Alabama running back Najee Harris was present for the first of the school’s two pro days this past week, but he did not participate in it due to him not being 100 percent. According to Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network, Harris will work out at the second of two pro days the school will put on soon as he’s “rounding into top shape” after the ankle injury he suffered in the college playoff game against Notre Dame.
Pauline filed a report during the Senior Bowl week that claimed Harris had been drawing the early attention of two teams in particular, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins. In his last chat, Pauline talked more about the Steelers continued interest in Harris.
“Yes — as of the other day, I was told both teams [Steelers & Dolphins] still rank Najee Harris highly and are considering selecting him in the first round,” Pauline wrote. “The other team that has also moved into the mix in the Harris sweepstakes? The Buffalo Bills, from the information I received.”
Pauline’s update isn’t too surprisingly because after all, Harris has done nothing so far during the pre-draft process to make the Steelers interest in him wane. We now wait and see what will happen at the second Alabama pro day and if indeed Harris winds up participating in it. It will also be interesting to see if Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, general Manager Kevin Colbert and offensive coordinator Matt Canada all make a second trip to Tuscaloosa to see Harris once more.
The Steelers must fix their running game in 2021 and as part of that process, one would think they will be selecting a running back early in this year’s draft. On the surface, it would appear as though the Steelers are destined to pick either Harris, Travis Etienne, or Javonte Williams, the top three running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
In case you’re curious, NFL.com Senior Analyst Gil Brandt has Harris ranked 26th overall in his initial top prospects in 2021 NFL Draft class rankings that was released this past week and below is what he wrote.
“Harris — who stayed at Alabama for a fourth year — is a great pass-catcher (70 receptions for 729 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons) with above-average running skills.”
Chad Reuter of NFL.com has also recently released an updated four-round mock draft and in it he projects the Steelers to draft Harris 24th overall. His reasoning for doing so is below.
“Steelers haven’t selected a running back in the first round since Rashard Mendenhall in 2008. GM Kevin Colbert isn’t afraid to break historical trends, however; after years of staying put in the first round, he made a large trade up for linebacker Devin Bush two years ago. Harris compares well to Le’Veon Bell as a big-bodied dual-threat back worthy of this selection, joining former teammate Josh Jacobs as No. 24 overall selections.”