NFL Draft

Ian Rapoport Says Most NFL Teams Believe RB Najee Harris Will Be Drafted By Steelers 24th Overall Pick

Najee Harris hurdle

The major media speculation ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft is in high gear right now ahead of the start of the event on Thursday night in Cleveland. In fact, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network passed along some heavy speculation of his own on Tuesday when it comes to the top running back prospects in this year’s draft class. Especially when it comes to Alabama product Najee Harris, who many believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are primed to pick in the first round 24th overall.

Rapoport reported Tuesday morning that most teams have Harris, Clemson’s Travis Etienne, and North Carolina’s Javonte Williams as the top three running backs in the draft. That’s not a big surprise at all, even though the order varies from team to team. He also goes on to say that most teams believe Harris will be off the draft board by the time the Steelers’ pick at 24th overall is finished. If Harris is indeed gone by the time the Steelers select in the first round, Rapoport believes the Steelers will consider Williams. He also went on to add that Etienne is the most NFL-ready passing back.

Speculation, speculation, speculation.

While the Steelers did not have either general manager Kevin Colbert or head coach Mike Tomlin present at the North Carolina Pro Day this year, running backs coach Eddie Faulkner was there to watch Williams go through the paces. Depending on which draftnik you ask at this point of the pre-draft process, it’s a reach to take Williams in the first round in the eyes of many.

A Tuesday morning report indicates that the Steelers really do like Ohio State running back Trey Sermon, so there’s that to consider, especially if the Steelers can’t or don’t draft Harris in the first round for whatever reason. If Sermons were to be the Steelers’ selected running back this year, one would think the team would need to spend their second-round selection, 55th overall in the draft, to ensure they get him. That assumes he lasts that long.

What if the Steelers can’t or don’t draft Harris in the first round? Personally, I think we could see them draft either Alabama center Landon Dickerson or Etienne instead. Dickerson’s medicals are a huge unknown at this point, however. That makes predicting him as the Steelers’ first round selection this year a dicey proposition. As for Etienne, both Colbert and Tomlin were at the Clemson Pro Day this year.

Draft day can’t get here fast enough at this point. Will Harris be there for the Steelers at 24 overall like most speculate he will be? Will he go 18th overall to the Miami Dolphins? Would the Steelers pass on Harris in lieu of Dickerson or another player? We’ll find out the answer to all those questions in a little more than 48 hours from now. In the meantime, however, expect the last-minute major media speculation machine to churn on until the proceedings get underway in Cleveland Thursday night.

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