4 reasons Steelers won’t draft RB Najee Harris in first round

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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Wide receiver Frank Lewis #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Steelers haven’t drafted a 23-year-old skill player in the first round in 50 years

This is a statistic that a found shocking. While this may be oddly specific, the Steelers typically don’t like to draft older skill players (wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends). After doing a little digging, I discovered that they have not taken a 23-year-old skill player in 50 years (the last was wide receiver Frank Lewis all the way back in 1971).

This doesn’t bode well for Harris’ chances of being selected with the 24th overall pick. In fact, outside of Jarvis Jones (who clearly turned out to be a bust), there are very few players the organization has ever drafted at the age of 23 in the first round.

There are certain traits that Pittsburgh looks for when drafting a running back high. While Harris clearly fits their desired size metrics, Rashard Mendenhall and Le’Veon Bell (a former second-round pick) were both 20 years old following their final collegiate seasons. At 23, Harris would be an outlier based on his age for a skill position player in the first round.

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In a year with so many opt-out players and a ton of uncertainty, nothing is set in stone, and it’s possible the Steelers will be forced to stray far from their original draft trends. However, if this were a normal offseason, I would wager that Najee Harris isn’t someone who would be on their radar in the first round.