As the 2021 NFL postseason awards continue to trickle in, two of the Steelers 2021 draft picks were selected to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team. On offense, Najee Harris was selected at running back while punter Pressley Harvin III was chosen for special teams.
The PFWA selected Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons as the 2021 Rookie and Defensive Rookie of the Year; Cincinnati WR Ja'Marr Chase selected as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Full All-Rookie honors: pic.twitter.com/B2Qx44F91L— Pro Football Writers (@PFWAwriters) January 25, 2022
Najee Harris finished his 2021 rookie season with 10 total touchdowns which ranks him second among rookies only behind Ja’Marr Chase with 13. Harris had seven rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns on the season. Harrison also led all rookies in rushing with 1,200 yards, a Steelers rookie record, and was the only rookie to surpass 1,000 rushing yards on the season. Harris’ seven rushing touchdowns was the most among rookies with the next closest being four other players tied with five. In all, Harris finished fourth in the NFL in rushing his rookie season behind Jonathan Taylor (1,811), Nick Chubb (1,259), and Joe Mixon (1,205). Harris also led all running backs in receptions in 2021 with 74 and was third in receiving yards with 467 only behind Austin Ekeler (647) and RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson (548).
Pressley Harvin, the second of the Steelers seventh-round draft picks in 2021, was the Steelers punter for all but two games in his rookie season. Missing Week 16 after the death of his father as well as Week 17 due to a personal/illness designation, Harvin returned to the Steelers for Week 18 and the postseason in. In the playoffs, Harvin had seven punts and averaged almost 50 yards with a 49.71 average in Kansas City. Despite struggling at times throughout the season, Harvin had the most punting yards of any player who entered the NFL in 2021 with 2,982 yards on 70 punts with a 42.6 yards per punt average. It should be noted that other than kicker Matt Ammendola who had to fill in at punter in Week 1 for the New York Jets when Branden Mann was injured, all other punters in the NFL had entered the league on rosters in previous seasons even if they did not punt until 2021 (such as Corliss Waitman).
One Steelers player who could have been considered but ultimately did not make PFWA’s All-Rookie team was tight end Pat Freiermuth who finished the season with 60 receptions for 497 yards and seven touchdowns. Beating out Freiermuth for the only tight end position on the team was fourth-overall draft pick Kyle Pitts of the Atlanta Falcons who finished with 1,026 receiving yards on 68 receptions but with only one touchdown. Pitts was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2021.
On behalf of Behind The Steel Curtain, congratulations to both Najee Harris and Pressley Harvin III on their All-Rookie awards.