4 takeaways from Steelers taking Najee Harris in the NFL Draft

Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The value of running back makes this pick a reach

I know we are going to have a lot of different opinions on this, and most of the fans that I have spoken to are split down the middle. On one hand, Najee Harris is a drastic upgrade over the running backs they currently have and should bolster the offense enough to keep them from having the league’s worst running game in 2021. On the other, I can argue that the value of the running back position makes the Najee selection a reach with a first-round pick.

Regardless of where your team is or whether you are selling out to ‘win now’, it’s never worth sacrificing great talent at more important positions. The money positions in the NFL are quarterback, offensive tackle, edge defender, and cornerback, and several quality options existed at the time for a few of these spots – options that I had rated higher on my draft board.

While many fans argue that the Steelers could simply fill these needs later in the draft with their remaining picks, the sheer lack of ‘best player available’ mentality on the part of Pittsburgh is concerning to me. As the 38th ranked player on my overall big board at 23 years old and with a significant amount of tread already taken off the tires, Harris might only have a few years on top before being thrown onto the pile – much like Le’Veon Bell’s sharp decline by the age of 26.

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Will Najee Harris help this team compete in the short term? Absolutely. And if that was the goal for Pittsburgh here then I get it. However, the longevity of his career at a position that just isn’t that important in the NFL is concerning to me. I really hope the Steelers prove me wrong on this one, but it’s going to take some convincing.