Najee Harris is going to be one of the best backs coming out of the 2021 NFL draft. I've watched almost all of the film available on him and he is the real deal. He has the size, athleticism, skill, blocking, speed, pass-catching ability, third-down ability, and awareness to find the endzone. Normally I would tend to agree not picking a running back in the first round, but Harris is a difference-maker.
In the Steelers Asked and Answered for March 2nd Bob Labriola was asked if a top offensive lineman is available and Alabama running back Najee Harris is also available, do you go with the offensive lineman? Having had a chance to take J.K. Dobbins or Clyde Edwards-Helaire last season and how they did as rookies, would you take Harris?
Bob Labriola on Najee Harris: "If Najee Harris is available at No. 24 overall, I'm picking him, and it has nothing to do with what happened last year. By the way, the Steelers never had an opportunity to pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire because he was the 32nd overall pick, by the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Steelers' first pick in 2020 wasn't until 49th overall because of the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick. Anyway, I believe Harris is a difference-maker as a running back, which in my mind makes him better than J.K. Dobbins, who is a fine running back but in my estimation not the kind of difference-maker Harris can become. I also believed that the Steelers needed to use the 2020 NFL Draft to add dynamic offensive weapons to the unit to support the return of Ben Roethlisberger from elbow surgery, and the team did that by picking wide receiver Chase Claypool. In making a list strictly of dynamic offensive rookies from 2020, Claypool would rank higher than Dobbins. But what's also apparent at this point is the Steelers overestimated James Conner, and so they now must correct that mistake and find themselves that "bell cow" that Conner is not."
Harris is my number 1 running back in the 2021 NFL draft. He will be able to start right away with any team he is drafted with. If he falls to the Pittsburgh Steelers they have no choice but to take him and I agree with Labriola on taking Harris over an offensive lineman in the first round. By the time the Steelers pick at No. 24, the offensive linemen could have already been picked through. At the end of the day, I would rather have the best running back than reach for an offensive lineman that can be picked in the second or third round. Steelers have to take Harris at No. 24 if he is available.