(Photo by Collegiate Images via Getty Images)
Steelers' first-round pick Najee Harris was just introduced to the offensive this weekend with rookie minicamp taking place, and he was asked during his media session today whether if he sees any similarities between Alabama's offense and the Steelers.
"There are a lot of things that are similar, just different terminology, the same meaning at the end of the day," Harris said. "The one thing that is similar is how they are going to line me up out wide like they did in college, utilize the running back in the passing game out wide, in the slot, at the X position."
The part about Harris lining up at the X position is interesting, as they haven't had a running back that's capable of doing that since Le'Veon Bell. There are not many running backs in the league that can catch like a wide receiver, either. Watching Harris' highlights at Alabama, he certainly displayed receiver-like catches. Below look at the reception he had on LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, who is now with the Ravens. Harris makes it look easy, naturally catching a back-shoulder throw for a touchdown.
Along with rushing for 3,843 yards on 638 carries (6.0 average) and 46 touchdowns at Alabama, Harris also had 80 receptions for 781 yards (9.8 average) and 11 touchdowns.
Harris said the running schemes that the Steelers have in their offense are similar to what they did at Alabama, as well.
"The schemes of the runs, the inside zone, the outside zone. A lot of what they are doing in their offense is a lot of what we did," Harris said. "Putting the players in the best position to make a play. Not doing a lot of thinking, just fast playing. The more you think, the slower you play. It seems like they are trying to make everything as easy as possible so the players can just play fast and really use the best of their ability."
With Harris being a three-down running back, it should be intriguing to see how offensive coordinator Matt Canada utilizes him in the Steelers' offense. Canada is known to be a creative offensive coordinator and he should have plenty of ideas to maximize Harris' talents in the offense. Which appears to be even lining him up wide in the slot and at the X receiver position.