Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs which they needed to address. Unlike in 2020, with no first round selection in the draft, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks. With eight picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: running back, center, pass rusher and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2021. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
When the dust settled, the Steelers have selected Alabama running back Najee Harris, with their first pick in the draft.
Steelers take RB Najee Harris— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) April 30, 2021
For those who may not know much about Harris as a player, this is his overall breakdown of his game, per his NFL Draft Profile:
Plus-sized runner who elevated his game and draft stock with a well-rounded performance in 2020. Harris showed improved short-area creativity and elusiveness to go with his trademark physicality. Creates additional yardage with both wiggle and power, but he lacks desired top gear to change games in a flash. He handled a heavier lift in 2020, with almost 300 total touches in 13 games. Harris’ value as a third-down option out of the backfield and as a personal protector should not be underestimated after his performance in his senior year. His running style could shorten his career, but he’s a tough, three-down runner who can immediately upgrade a running game.
- Great size with the demeanor for the game.
- Runs decisively and with urgency.
- Rarely fumbles.
- Able to gather and cut on short notice.
- Downhill wiggle to slalom around bodies.
- Change of direction is crisp.
- Makes large number of tacklers miss for being a physical back.
- Has tools to handle inside/outside duties.
- Follows and bursts to daylight off of lead blocks.
- Violent finisher who is ready to thump when challenged.
- Plus balance to keep run on track through first contact.
- Talent as route runner and pass catcher was on full display in 2020.
- Soft hands with above-average ball skills.
- Willing and able in pass protection.
- Runs with inconsistent feel for tempo.
- Lacks speed to threaten for the big play.
- Gets in a hurry, hindering his ability to find developing blocks.
- Runs with low knee action and average burst between tackles.
- Average acceleration out of his cuts.
- Takes on heavy contact on a consistent basis.
- Running style could lead to challenges with durability.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft needs in the remaining rounds of the draft now would be considered: offensive tackle, center, tight end, cornerback, among other positions.
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Meh. Better options existed.
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