4 reasons Najee Harris should not be Steelers first-round pick

Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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The Steelers could be looking to take a running back as early as round one this April, but here’s why Najee Harris is not the answer. 

It’s hard to scroll through Twitter these days without seeing some Steelers fan post a video or explain their praise for Alabama running back Najee Harris. At 6’2” and 230 pounds, Harris resembles a young Le’Veon Bell in many ways. He’s a patient, yet powerful runner with a combination of savvy moves with the ball in his hands, and his production jumps off the page. Harris compiled 1,891 scrimmage yards over 13 games in 2020 in addition to scoring 30 touchdowns.

But despite all of the praise for one of the nation’s best running backs, there are a handful of reasons why the Steelers would be wise to pass on him with the 24th overall pick this year. Najee Harris could turn out to be a very good running back for somebody, but here’s why he should not be Pittsburgh’s first-round pick.

Massive college workload

As far as production goes, Najee Harris has everything you could ask for. He has averaged 6.0 yards per carry on the ground over his careers and he has multiple seasons of over 1,200 yards rushing and at least 25 receptions in the passing game. However, his massive workload in college should be more than concerning to NFL scouts.

Harris’ 718 total touches are almost as many as Le’Veon Bell had (749) prior to entering the league. While this may not seems like a big deal and you probably won’t see the effects of this until several years down the road, running backs with massive college workloads have been proven to wear out quicker in the NFL. Look how quickly Bell went from an All-Pro running back to a nameless face in the backfield. Harris could have a similarly short shelflife in the NFL.