They drafted a running back in the first round.
When the team selected Alabama product Najee Harris with the 24th overall pick, many fans were skeptical. Why were they skeptical? Because their thought process is you can find value at the position later in the draft. Players like Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry and plenty others were not first round running backs. Suddenly, the general consensus is players like Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott aren’t worth the first round tag.
It makes for an interesting debate, and one Steelers fans are hoping pays off for them in 2021. NFL Network’s Maurice Jones-Drew, a former NFL running back himself, ranked all 32 starting running backs in the league. You might be shocked where he has Najee Harris ranked, but let’s take a look at the players who were listed before Harris:
Maurice Jones-Drew’s RB Rankings
1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
3. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
4. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
5. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
6. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
7. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
8. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
9. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
10. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
11. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
12. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
13. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
14. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
15. Austin Eckler, Los Angeles Chargers
16. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
“The Steelers have finally found a new bell cow in Harris, who has a similar skill set to Le’Veon Bell. One of the best backs to come out of the draft in quite some time, Harris will be at the center of the Steelers’ offense as a versatile weapon who’ll take a ton of pressure off an aging Ben Roethlisberger If the Steelers do make one final Lombardi Trophy push with Big Ben under center, the rookie will play a huge role in their success.”
If you want to see the rest of the rankings, click HERE.
So, what do you think of these rankings? Is it absurd to consider Harris, who hasn’t carried the ball once as a professional, higher than some players who are already established runners in the NFL?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.