Running back Najee Harris and punter Pressley Harvin III were named to the Pro Football Writers of America 2021 All-Rookie team Tuesday, the publication announced moments ago.
Harris was an obvious selection, the league’s new workhorse back who led the NFL in touches, the first rookie to do so since Ladainian Tomlinson, while rushing for exactly 1,200 yards and adding another 467 through the air. His 74 receptions set a franchise rookie record, easily breaking Chase Claypool’s mark of 62 set a year ago.
Harris proved he could be a three-down back capable of running, catching, and blocking all at a high level, especially for a rookie. He earned every yard he got behind a brand new Steelers’ offensive line, leading to an inefficient stat line of under four yards per carry. But he’s the easy choice here for the position, beating out the likes of New England’s Rhamondre Stevenson. Denver’s Javonte Williams joined Harris as part of the All-Rookie team.
Harvin certainly didn’t have the rookie year he hoped for, finishing 28th in average (42.6) and 27th in net average (38.0). His inclusion is by default. He was the only true rookie punter to appear in NFL action this season making him the only guy to put on the list. He’ll hope for a better year two, starting in the summer, to ensure he keeps his job heading into next year. Not usually the report associated with “rookie of the year” for his position but that’s how specialists go sometimes.
Tight end Pat Freiermuth had a strong season for the Steelers. But only one tight end was named and that predictably went to Atlanta’s Kyle Pitts.
Overall, PFWA named Dallas Cowboys LB/DC Micah Parsons their rookie of the year. He’s a shoo-in to win the same vote by the AP for Defensive Rookie of the Year, while Cincinnati Bengals’ WR Ja’Marr Chase is nearly the same lock to win it on offense. Chase was named the PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year.