(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
It's no secret that the expectations are enormous for first-round pick Najee Harris. Anything short of a 1,000 yard rushing season would honestly be a major disappointment. The Steelers are depending on Harris to be their bell-cow running back and take the load off the shoulders of 39-year-old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
They have to get back to running the football efficiently. They can't be a one-dimensional offense like last season -- which was the root of their collapse, losing five of their last six games, including the embarrassing wild-card game loss to the Browns at Heinz Field.
New offensive coordinator Matt Canada said at minicamp that Steelers President Art Rooney II made it clear this offseason that: "Our charge was to run the ball." He said the message was also to be more physical on offense.
Harris is the focal point of turning the Steelers' ailing running game around, which finished dead last in the league last year. The onus is on Harris to play at a Pro Bowl level even though it's his rookie campaign.
Jeff Darlington and Mike Greenberg believe Harris will be up for the challenge. They both believe he'll be an instant success in Pittsburgh.
“I don’t want to overstate things because I just love the guy’s vibe but I feel like Najee Harris is going to come into that locker room and get the respect of the guys around him,” Darlington said on ESPN's Get Up. “For some reason, I just have this weird feeling that Najee Harris is going to be an absolute star in the NFL.”
Greenberg is so confident in Harris' abilities that he's already projecting him to win a major NFL award this season.
“Write his name down right now for Rookie of the Year,” Greenberg said.