The runningback debate has been a big one amongst Pittsburgh Steeler fans leading up to the NFL draft. It looks like many draft analysts are starting to shift away from Najee Harris making him the third-best running back in the Draft. Daniel Jeremiah recently said when he updates his new draft board he will have Javonte Williams above Najee Harris.
Daniel Jeremiah on why he chooses Williams over Harris: “Yeah, I wouldn’t just be limited to Harris,” Jeremiah said on his conference call with reporters. “I’m getting ready to update my list. The next time I update it I am probably going to have Javonte Williams from North Carolina over Harris. He is a really good player. To me, he would be a great, great fit with Pittsburgh. I wouldn’t have any problems. I know people kind of look at the running back thing one way or the other. When you’re picking down there in the bottom of the first round and you’ve got a chance to get an impact player like Javonte Williams from North Carolina, to me, I think that would be a heck of a pick."
This looks like the new trend with draft analysts. Most have said Najee Harris is the most complete running back in the NFL. Now it looks like they're starting to turn on him. It could be because Alabama running back's have tremendous wear and tear when they get into the NFL, but Derek Henry was on pace to have an MVP season in 2020. Harris is just a little bit smaller than Henry, but I believe he is a game-changer.
Pro Football Focus recently updated their NFL draft big board. The first running back they have coming off of the board is in the second-round at number 39. PFF feels Travis Etienne will be the first one off the board. They say Etienne didn't have his best season on the ground but reinvented himself as a vertical receiver. His 90.9 receiving grade and 588 receiving yards led all FBS running backs. The second running back to come off the board in PFF's big board is Javonte Williams at number 58. PFF says Williams is fresh off the single most impressive tackle-breaking season we've ever graded. He broke 76 tackles on only 157 attempts for the Tar Heels. Finally, the third running back they have off of the board is Najee Harris at number 67. Harris has some of the best ball skills you'll ever see from a running back, with three drops on 83 catchable passes over his career. He's got bell-cow written all over him.
They do not give a reason why they rank Najee Harris third, but they do agree he will become a bell-cow once he is signed to an NFL football team. Overall, I believe you have to take Najee Harris if he is there when the Steelers pick. He gives you more powerful explosiveness than Etienne and Williams. Etienne can catch the ball great from the backfield. Williams is younger and can break many tackles, but the explosiveness goes to Najee Harris. That is what the Steelers are looking to bring back as well. They want their physical running game back and Harris will certainly bring it.