Every year there is a big time running back that comes out in the draft. Someone who just tore up the college fields and projects to do the same in the NFL. Generally you don’t see many running backs who deserve to go in the first round. The positional value of running backs is tanking and they are now the most replaceable position in football. Due to the nature of the position, the lifespan of a good running back is going down and very few talents warrant a first round pick. In recent years we have seen Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, Christian McCaffery, Leonard Fournette, and now Najee Harris have all gone in the first round. So of that group of seven, Najee was drafted fourth highest. So what makes me think Harris can and will be better than everyone on this list?
First of all, Najee Harris is 6’3″ 230 lbs and for anyone who doesn’t know, that is absolutely hulking for a running back. To put his size into perspective, he is the same height as Derrick Henry and only weighs eight pounds less. Rarely do you ever see a running back at any size play as smooth, quick, and intentionally as Najee. His cuts and change of direction are better than most backs that are already in the league. He is such a good route runner that you can line him up out wide and count on him to catch the ball. He can run in between the tackles or bounce outside. He plays physical and fights for extra yards no matter where the play is run. You just don’t see a running back as complete as Najee come around often. Saquon Barkley is another complete back with good size (6’0″ 234 lbs) but he struggles with injury and Najee has never missed a game.
Obviously, no one knows how good he’ll be until we see him play a game for the Steelers. However, we do know how disruptive he was at Alabama. In fact, he was the most prolific RB in the history of the Crimson Tide. He had more rushing yards during his time in Tuscaloosa than Derrick Henry, Mark Ingram, Shaun Alexander, Eddie Lacy, Trent Richardson, and other Bama’ greats. No one is more poised and determined as Najee and he has all of the tools to be great. Physically, he has arguably the best size in the NFL and plays a very strong brand of football. He is fast, he is smooth, he sinks his hips in his cuts and at the top of his routes, he has impeccable vision, his hands are reliable, his nose for the end zone is the best in Alabama history. Najee has the best intangibles of any player in this year’s draft and he has over come a lot to get to where he is. He may just be a better person off the field than he is on the field but thats a separate article. All-in-all, if Najee Harris stays heathy and plays for 10+ years, we’ll be mentioning him with the all time greats.