4 reasons Najee Harris should not be Steelers first-round pick
By Tommy Jaggi
Harris turns 23 years old in March
Age is but a number, and 23 hardly seems old. However, there are certain positions that many teams usually avoid drafting older players, and running back is one of them. While there isn’t really a correlation between taking a 23-year-old quarterback or offensive lineman and having a higher bust rate, younger skill players (mainly wide receivers and running backs) have a history of higher success rates when transitioning to the NFL.
This is largely because the best players in the nation typically show how dominant they are at a very early age. Let’s use Le’Veon Bell as an example again. Though he did have a concerning amount of touches prior to entering the league, Bell had a very successful junior season at Michigan State when he was just 20 years old – nearly two full years younger than Harris.
There are obviously many more examples of this. In recent years, most of the best skill players like CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, Marquise Brown, A.J. Brown, Miles Sanders have all been 20-21 years old when drafted. Even Harris’ former teammate Josh Jacobs – who was drafted two years ago – is younger than Harris. There’s not always a correlation with age, but typically, players who can dominate college football at a younger age are more apt to do so in the NFL.