While Najee Harris hasn’t had the sparkling season statistically the Pittsburgh Steelers hoped for, it was still good enough to make David Carr’s All-Rookie team over at NFL.com.
Harris was one of two backs to be selected to the All-Rookie team, joining Denver Broncos’ runner Javonte Williams. Here’s what Carr had to write about Harris’ season.
“While Eli Mitchell, Michael Carter and Rhamondre Stevenson have all flashed as rookies, Harris has consistently produced as a versatile weapon in the Steelers’ offense. He has been a bright spot all season for a unit that’s stuck between a rock and a hard place with the aging Ben Roethlisberger under center. Harris ranks third among running backs with 1,406 scrimmage yards and leads all rookie RBs in rush yards, receiving yards, scrimmage yards and scrimmage TDs.”
Harris has been a volume workhorse back for the Steelers this season. He’s touched the ball more than not only every other rookie but more than any other player in the league. Here’s the top five, Harris currently slightly edging out Colts’ RB Jonathan Taylor.
Most Touches, 2021
1. Najee Harris – 335
2. Jonathan Taylor – 333
3. Joe Mixon – 315
4. Antonio Gibson – 276
5. Dalvin Cook – 256
If Harris finishes the season atop the list, he’ll be the first rookie to do so since LaDainian Tomlinson led the league with 398 in 2001.
On the year, Harris has 268 carries and 67 receptions, the latter a franchise record for a rookie, breaking Chase Claypool’s mark set last season. As Carr notes, Harris is a well-rounded back, not just a runner like others in this class. His pass pro has improved significantly this season and above all else, he’s been healthy, absorbing a length schedule. He’s also yet to fumble the football this season. Harris is likely to win the team’s Joe Greene Award given out to the top rookie in each Steelers’ draft class.
Harris was the only Steeler to land on Carr’s All-Rookie team, offense or defense. Pat Freiermuth was a worthy candidate but predictably lost out to Kyle Pitts. Dan Moore Jr. has come on strong to end the season but this was a strong tackle class with bonafide studs in LA’s Rashawn Slater and Detroit’s Penei Sewell. Defensively, Isaiahh Loudermilk and Tre Norwood have carved out rotational roles with the team but their play hasn’t been impressive enough to make a list like this.