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Is Najee Harris the safe bet to win offensive rookie of the year?

NFL awards are typically won by quarterbacks but can the Steelers runner take home the hardware?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie Minicamp Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Early betting odds for the NFL yearly player awards are beginning to pop up for the 2021 season. One thing that is sure to catch a Steelers fans eye is the odds of running back, Najee Harris hoisting the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award. According to DraftKings sports book Harris’ has the fifth best odds at the award. Only trailing the first four quarterbacks selected in the 2021 draft.

But before you break out your wallets to slap down a bet on young Harris, there are a few things to consider. Of the past 13 winners, seven have been quarterbacks, four have been running backs, and two have been receivers. Like every major award, voters are siding more and more with the quarterback position. That’s where the issue lays, with the quarterbacks of the 2021 draft class. With five first round picks, at least two of which will be starting in Week 1, it will take an eye popping year from Harris and a little bit of luck.

If wonder boy Trevor Lawrence is able to turn the Jaguars sinking ship into a playoff team there is virtually no chance of anyone else winning the trophy. The same can almost be said for Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. Basically, if you want Najee Harris to be the first Pittsburgh Steeler to win the OROY since Ben Roethlisberger you’ll need to cheer for mediocrity —at best— out of both the Jaguars and the Jets.

Thankfully, the biggest plus Najee Harris has working for him is Mike Tomlin’s neglect to rotate multiple backs. Harris will be the Steelers bell-cow and in turn touch the ball hundreds of times. If he can turn the Steelers putrid rushing attack around and pitch in another 50ish receptions, he will be sitting very pretty when voting time comes around.

So the way I see it, Najee Harris needs three things:

  • He needs to be healthy.
  • He needs the quarterbacks of the 2021 class to struggle
  • He needs to hope this remade offensive line can surpass expectations

If you think those three things will happen, then you might just earn some pretty easy money. But, if you think just one of those things won't happen then I highly suggest you steer clear of that bet slip!

But what do you think? Will Najee Harris take home the 2021 offensive rookie of the year award? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.