Alabama RB Najee Harris landed with the Steelers at Pick #24 of the 2021 NFL Draft. The #1 overall recruit in the 2017 class, Harris had to wait behind some other star backs at Alabama before taking over the backfield the past 2 years. He finished his college career, though, with school records for rushing yards, rushing TDs and total TDs. Harris adds a stronger receiving profile than you’d normally find in a 230-pound back. His 70 receptions over the past 2 seasons produced 10.4 yards per catch and 11 TDs, and they included plenty of WR-type plays downfield. Adding 1st-round draft capital makes Harris a strong bet to load up on touches right away. And he has very little competition for touches in Pittsburgh. The concern is an offensive line that ranked dead last in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards last year. Still, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Harris score at the RB1 level in fantasy immediately.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been impressed by how rookie RB Najee Harris has settled into the offense. "He doesn't seem lost. It's not too big for him. His head's not spinning," Roethlisberger said. "The most exciting part is once he gets it and it clicks and he goes full speed, it's going to be something to see." Harris has already made a few highlight-reel grabs in practice and is set up for a big workload right out of the gate. There's RB1 upside here.
Steelers RB Najee Harris played some 'X' receiver and slot receiver at rookie minicamp over the weekend, according to The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. "It appears that Harris will be used in the passing game as well and as more than just a checkdown option out of the backfield," Kaboly wrote. Harris racked up 70 catches over his final 2 seasons at Alabama and put some impressive receiving ability on tape. We're expecting him to immediately handle the majority of the ball-carrying and pass-catching work in Pittsburgh's backfield this season. The rookie has easy RB1 upside.
New Steeler Najee Harris got the "3-down back" label from GM Kevin Colbert on Thursday night. “He’s a three-down back that played in an NFL system,” Colbert said after taking Harris 24th overall. “His one hidden trait is that he finds invisible yards at that second level. There are times when you think he should be going down and he finds 6, 7, 8 yards. It is really exciting to get a three-down back and add him to the team.” This is a "3-down back" label we can buy into considering Harris will be competing for touches with Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland. Pittsburgh's offensive line figures to be a problem for Harris. But volume trumps all in fantasy football, and the rookie has a shot to finish top 10 in total touches this season.
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