Who will be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ team MVP in 2021, and is there a good chance it will be a rookie? Time will certainly tell, but Around the NFL Writer Dan Hanzus is convinced that Steelers’ honor will go to rookie running back Najee Harris.
As part of his post in which he attempted to predict the 2021 team MVP for all 16 AFC teams, Hanzus explained why he feels Harris, the Steelers’ first round draft pick this year, was his choice for the Black and Gold.
The Steelers’ offense stumbled mightily down the stretch last year, and the lack of a dynamic, trustworthy presence in the backfield played a major role in the collapse. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t the guy who should be trying to put the offense on his back anymore, so why not hand that task to a 23-year-old, first-round pick bursting with potential? Harris is a bruising, born-for-the-AFC-North type of runner with the accompanying receiving skills necessary to keep him on the field for three downs. Pittsburgh’s offense needs to head in a fresh, new direction, and it’s Harris who will likely lead the way.
Hanzus choosing Harris as his selection to be the Steelers team MVP in 2021 isn’t a huge surprise. After all, Harris should get plenty of playing time as a rookie and if he stays healthy, might even wind up being a legitimate candidate to win the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
So, how rare is it for a Steelers rookie to win the team’s annual MVP award? It’s quite rare. In fact, Franco Harris was the last Steelers rookie to win the team MVP award, back in 1972. So, yeah, it would be quite an accomplishment for Najee Harris to win the team MVP award in 2021.
Who are the other candidates to win the Steelers team MVP award in 2021? Outside linebacker T.J. Watt must be on such a list, as should all three of the Steelers’ wide receivers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has only won the team MVP award once since he was drafted in 2004, would also likely be a legitimate candidate. I suppose Steelers’ third year inside linebacker Devin Bush has a chance to be in the running as well, and maybe even safety Minkah Fitzpatrick if he can register a half a dozen interceptions or more in 2021.
Watt, by the way, has won the team MVP award the last two seasons.
Who is your choice to win the Steelers 2021 team MVP award this far out?