On Monday Good Morning Football held their Turtleneck Draft on the NFL Network, where the host went around the table drafting their picks for all 32 teams in the first round. And when the 24th pick came up, host Kyle Brandt chose Alabama running back, Najee Harris.
It’s a fact the the offensive line should not and most likely will not be the Pittsburgh Steelers top priority, due to how deep the OL position is in this year’s draft. The RB position on the other hand is slim pickings, and Harris is one player coach Mike Tomlin and GM Kevin Colbert have their eye on.
“A cool-ass Zoom call — I met [them] in-person and on Zoom — was the Steelers, for sure,” Alabama running back Harris told ESPN’s reporter Adam Schefter on his podcast. “They had their whole staff there — the GM, the defensive staff, they had everybody there.”
Seems to me that is showing a lot of interest, having the entire staff..including from the defensive side there to talk with one single draft prospect. And clearly, Harris views the Steelers as a team that is interested in drafting him. #HereWeGo
Look, I am not going to lie. I believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers should use their first round pick (24th overall) on a running back. That running back being none other than, Najee Harris out of Alabama. But what if Harris is off the board at number 24? What position should the Steelers address besides the much needed RB position?
Enter Patrick Surtain II. The 6’2″..208 lb cornerback also out of Alabama is definitely one of the elite defensive backs in the 2021 NFL Draft. But, is he an absolute necessity for Pittsburgh at such a high price? Personally, I don’t believe he is an absolute NEED!
Since it has been stated “you go with the best player on the board” (Surtain ranked #16/Harris ranked #22) you also go by team needs. I mean, if the best player on the board is an inside linebacker, and you have three Pro Bowl ILBs and five potential starters on your roster are you picking an ILB? No. Having said that, the Steelers have a number of talented players in the DBs position.
With interchangeable defensive backs like Joe Haden, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmonds, Cam Sutton and Justin Layne..plus James Pierre licking his chops, I think we can hold off from picking up a corner until the second round.
After all it wasn’t the pass defense that was the problem last year, it was the lack of a run game that exposed Pittsburgh offense for what it was..one dimensional.
The Steelers had an abysmal running game last season, ranking 32nd in the National Football League. THIRTY SECOND! You don’t believe me? Look it up. Now ask yourself, when has that ever happened?
Of course, a lot of analysts and “so-called fans” blame the lack of a running game on the offensive line. A line coated with Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro..you know the rest. Cutting it short to focus on the the facts.
But..running back, James Conner (who I think was a great story) was not the answer. Hell, LeVeon Bell wasn’t the answer to Jerome Bettis, Willie Parker or DeAngelo Williams. Najee Harris can become that answer we are looking for.
Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin and general manager, Kevin Colbert have expressed interest in both Crimson Tide football studs. But the reality is Harris along with a veteran free agent like an Adrian Peterson to mentor the young backfield could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
So in my honest, biased opinion I think if Najee Harris is still on the board at number twenty-four, we pick Najee Harris. If not? Then you can only hope another “pro ready” running back is available. Only then do we entertain the CB position, but hey..it is just my opinion. I am not the ones behind the scenes making the decisions. Finger crossed for Najee. #HereWeGo
I have already stated since before the 2020 NFL season came to an end, that Alabama running back, Najee Harris should be the Pittsburgh Steelers first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And although a plethora of analysts believe it will never happen, two members of the Triple Take Team on the Steelers Radio Network have my back.
Please keep in mind that the opinions of these Steelers Radio Network Personalities do not reflect the views of the Steelers organization, nor Steelers World 1.
MATT WILLIAMSON’S PICK: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Analysis: “The Steelers couldn’t count on their running game last year. Why not add the best back in the draft, and a guy that fits Pittsburgh extremely well?”
Harris definitely would fit the Steelers scheme of things, a running back with the speed of Willie Parker and the IQ of a Jerome Bettis. Let alone the vision of one former Steelers RB I dare not mention.
DALE LOLLEY’S PICK: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Analysis: “The best running back in the draft. The early run on offensive tackles, takes that position off the board.”
Lolley’s point is, there are a ton of offensive lineman entering in this year’s draft. A ton of talented linemen with plenty of room to nurture and grow. Running backs come out of college with that killer instinct you don’t find in many. So why let a gem pass you by when the opportunity is there?
MIKE PRISUTA’S PICK: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Analysis: “He’s a man, 6-foot-6, 320 pounds.”
Really Mike? Is that your argument? That he is 6-foot-6 and 320? Do you know how many offensive lineman coming out of the college ranks are 6-foot-6, 320 pounds? Basically all of them! (By the way, Teven Jenkins is no relationship to me).
STEELERS WORLD 1’S PICK: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Analysis: “Seriously, what could be better for the Steelers to draft Harris, then pick up Adrian Peterson at the veteran minimum? You always need a mentor in all positions on the field. Something Pittsburgh was without in the backfield last season.”
Am I wrong? From Jerome Bettis to Willie Parker. Hines Ward to Antonio Brown. Tommy Maddox to Ben Roethlisberger. There has always been a veteran to show the the youngsters the ropes. So look for A.P. mentoring Harris this season for the Steelers. Mark my words. #HereWeGo
People laughed at me when I made this prediction before the NFL season ever ended. But it seems like more and more people are beginning to realize the importance of Alabama senior running back Najee Harris. Here is the breakdown of Harris according to thedraftnetwork.com
Harris is a versatile threat that was a rare case of a backfield rusher who played all four seasons in Tuscaloosa. A tall and upright runner, Harris is a blend of power, determination, and versatility as both a between-the-tackles runner and perimeter rushing threat. A comfortable pass-catcher out of the backfield, he’s made strides in his pass-catching ability every season. A running back that can have passing concepts designed around his abilities, he can routinely put second-level defenders in a bind with schemed patterns to attack coverage. A runner that always seems to fall forward when taking on contact, he’s a highly determined and physical rusher who forces defenders to tackle him to the ground through the echo of the whistle. Harris isn’t a running back who contains multiple gears, as he’s a flat-footed runner that paces his way through defenses. Another key attribute on his resume is his ability to finish drives with touchdowns. Few match Harris’ will and “want to” with getting into the endzone, as he led the country in scores in that area last season.
Ideal Role: Featured top option running back.
Scheme Fit: Multiple scheme fit in both man/gap/power and zone-based blocking scheme.
Now sure the Pittsburgh Steelers do need to address their offensive line, at least they do at some point in time in the 2021 NFL Draft. But there are plenty of quality linemen entering the league this year, yet not many running backs stack up to Harris. The highlights below beginning as a “true” freshman will account for that.
Of course most people see Najee not available on the board at the 24th pick, and since the Steelers are not necessarily known to do the trade hiccup. Those people seem to forget exactly what Pittsburgh did to aquire Michigan linebacker, Devin Bush in the 2019 draft.
True..the Steelers don’t necessarily make moves, or trade away players or picks for one player. But once in a while they come across a gem they would be stupid to pass up. One of those gems was Bush, who before his season ending injury was having an amazing year.
Keep in mind the offensive line was not the problem with running back, James Conner’s production, it was Conner’s inability to stay healthy and move the sticks when needed. But Harris has the power, vision, awareness on the field and breakaway speed much needed to take the pressure off of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Summary: Najee Harris is a mixture of the power of Jerome Bettis, and the quickness..(though not as quick)..as Willie Parker. Passing up on him for an offensive lineman who can block, but unable to put points on the board would be a ridiculous decision. And points are how games are won, Harris will definitely fill that much needed void.