The Pittsburgh Steelers found a legitimate number one running back in the 2021 NFL draft. Whether you liked the pick or not, there’s no denying he’s one of the better backs in the NFL already. He creates so much with so little space available and with a legit offensive line in front of them he could produce so much more. Despite this, Najee Harris is still out-pacing every single Steelers rushing rookie record, and already eclipsed the total yardage in a rookie season record. So with all the success, and with four weeks to go, we question where Najee Harris rookie year compares to recent Steelers draft picks.
Let’s take a look at Harris’ current stats and what he is projecting. As we sit here today the Alabama alum totals:
873 rushing yards
6 rushing touchdowns
397 receiving yards
3 receiving touchdowns
At this pace Harris’ final stat line will look like the following after the 17 game season:
1,142 Rushing yards
8 Rushing touchdowns
520 receiving yards
4 receiving touchdowns.
At this current trajectory Najee Harris will break Franco Harris‘ record for rookie rushing yardage (1,055). Also, Najee Harris is just two receptions away from tying Chase Claypool‘s record for receptions in a rookie season (62). And the one other major Steelers rookie record, likely to be eclipse by Harris, is total touchdowns in a rookie season. Najee Harris currently sits with nine touchdowns, two behind Franco Harris and Louis Lipps who totaled 11 in their rookie seasons.
We really haven’t seen a rookie come in and re-write the record books like this in sometime. Both Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster set one receiving rookie record themselves in their inaugural season, but Harris looks to break at least four records of his own. Really, the last first year player to step in and place his name at the top of rookie rankings is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger‘s rookie season was one of the greatest in NFL history as he led the Steelers to a perfect 13-0 record while he was under center. All of this was done on his way to offensive rookie of the year honors. Najee Harris definitely deserves some consideration for the same award, and perhaps as these records fall he will get more attention in the national spotlight.
As far as rookie seasons go, at the pace he is on, Najee Harris has had the best statistical rookie season to date since Ben Roethlisberger, and has had a large impact to the degree of Maurkice Pouncey on the offense. It will be a fun final month of football to see where Harris ends up in major statistical categories, and it will be fun watching the rest of his career. Hopefully the Steelers can give the kid some better assets in front of him, and he will have an even greater sophomore season next year.
But what do you think? Where does Najee Harris his rookie season rank in the history of this franchise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.