Marshawn Lynch Names Najee Harris A Top-Five RB In The NFL

Former NFL running backs Marshawn Lynch & LenDale White jumped on the I AM ATHLETE podcast with Brandon Marshall and Adam “Pacman” Jones recently to talk about life after football, mental health, and more.

Lynch was also asked to rank his top five currently in the NFL during the show to which he included obvious answers Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, and Nick Chubb. Lynch also included Josh Jacobs who is coming off a career year in 2022 as well as another former Alabama RB and current Pittsburgh Steeler Najee Harris.

“This ain’t in no particular order, but Najee [Harris], Derrick Henry, Saquon [Barkley], Josh [Jacobs], and [Nick] Chubb,” Lynch said on I AM ATHLETE which aired live on the show’s YouTube channel.

Harris not only made the cut in Lynch’s top five RBs currently in the NFL, but he also was the first name Lynch mentioned to kick off his list. He did say that his list wasn’t in any particular order, but to have Najee Harris on the list over the likes over Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, and others is quite the tip of the cap to Harris given the number of talented players at the position in the pros.

However, Marshawn Lynch’s perception of Najee Harris is skewed due to the fact that the two have such a close relationship. Lynch has been Harris’ mentor well before he was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, calling him “his son” as both running backs were born and raised in the Bay Area out in California. Harris signed with Lynch’s marketing agency prior to the draft and has referenced his friendship and mentorship with Lynch several times since his transition from Alabama to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It should be notable that Harris was the only one of Lynch’s top five RBs who didn’t finish in the top five in rushing yards in 2022 with Jacobs leading the way with 1,653 yards, followed by Henry (1,538), Chubb (1,525) and Barkley (1,312). Harris finished with 1,034 yards on 272 carries (3.8 YPC) and 10 total TDs which is modest production, but not what to the level that you’d expect from a top-five back.

However, Harris finished the season strong as the OL improved and Pittsburgh found its identity in the running game. While Harris’ inclusion as a top-five back in the NFL over the likes of McCaffrey may not be justified, you can appreciate Lynch sticking up for his friend and hopefully motivating him to pursue that designation in 2023.

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