The Pittsburgh Steelers made an unpopular decision in the 2021 NFL Draft, according some many fans an experts. With the 24th overall selection the team decided to take a running back instead of addressing obvious needs along the offensive line.
By now fans know that running back was Alabama standout Najee Harris, but few are debating whether Harris was worth the selection, even after just six games. In fact, Harris has been able to rack up some impressive statistics in the early portion of the 2021 regular season:
Game Starts: 6
Yards per carry: 3.8
TDs (Rushing): 2
Yards per reception: 7.2
TDs (Receiving): 2
While Harris’ rushing numbers don’t jump off the page, his overall contributions to the Steelers’ offense are not to be overlooked. If you can imagine someone else, say Benny Snell Jr. or Jaylen Samuels, being the primary running back for this offense, it would be much worse when it comes to rushing.
Harris has a unique skill set of size, speed and agility. While he isn’t a burner who is going to outrun defensive backs, he is capable of making plays both as a runner and receiver, and this has him moving up the list to win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Take a look at the latest odds, per Draft Kings Sportsbook:
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals WR, +300
Mac Jones, New England Patriots QB, +450
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars QB, +750
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers RB, +800
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears QB, +850
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers QB, +1000
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
When you look at the above list, you can see how the Steelers’ primary ball carrier could move up the list. Obviously, the NFL is a quarterback driven league, so players like Jones and Lawrence will be the ones who could move up this list the easiest, but someone who might be putting money on these odds might want to consider Harris as a serious contender.
With Chase being the leader at this juncture of the season, you have to wonder if a rookie receiver can sustain these odds considering he is reliant on others, Joe Burrow, to help with his overall production.
It won’t be easy, but if the Steelers continue to remain dedicated to the run, and utilize Harris as both a runner and pass catcher, there is no doubt he should be in consideration for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Cleveland Browns in Week 8 of the 2021 regular season.