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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Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Lacks breakaway speed

Harris has all the traits to be an ideal second-round pick: he’s powerful and elusive with value as a receiver. However, one thing that is not in the cards for the Alabama running back is breakaway speed. According to DraftScout.com, Harris is projected to run a 4.52-second 40-yard dash, and that his low time could be as poor as a 4.60.

Clearly, this doesn’t mean that Harris can’t be a feature running back in the NFL – I fully expect him to carry the load for whichever team he lands on. But the fact that he isn’t going to have breakaway speed is concerning to me. Compare him for a moment to Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor last year. Taylor averaged over 2,000 rushing yards per season in college while running for 6.7 yards per carry. While his workload was concerning, he tested as a 90th percentile athlete, according to Three Sigma Athlete, and proved his explosion with a 4.39 40-yard dash at the Combine.

Even with elite college production and elite athletics traits to go with a prototype running back body (5’10” and 226 pounds), Taylor still wasn’t taken until the 41st overall pick in the second round. Meanwhile, Cam Akers was taken with the 52nd pick as a 20-year-old workhorse running back, and Dobbins went at pick 55. Realistically, this is the range that Najee Harris should fall in.