Steelers draft: Grading the Najee Harris pick in the 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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Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Grade: C+

I like Najee Harris as a player. It is rare that you see workhorse backs with his size and skill set be able to dominate at every level of the game like he did at Alabama. In addition, Crimson Tide running backs, for the most part, have very good reputations of NFL success – with Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs being two prime examples.

Drafting a player like Harris in the first round doesn’t mean that Pittsburgh can’t have a successful NFL Draft, but it does leave me with a few questions. My biggest knock doesn’t have anything to do with my assessment of the player. I think Harris is one of the better running back prospects to come out in the past five years. However, when you consider that running back has the shortest shelf-life on any position in the league, I have to knock this pick a bit.

Nobody is denying that the Steelers rushing attack – which ranked dead last in the league last year – needed to be improved. However, there were other means of improving the offense, and I think that needs to start with the trenches. As of now, the Steelers appear to have just one young offensive lineman they can start to build around in Kevin Dotson, as I am in no way sold on Zach Banner or Chukwuma Okorafor at this point. Najee Harris is a solid player, but players one of the least important and most replaceable positions in all of football.

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As I have mentioned many times before, I truly believe that Najee Harris is going to be a very good player in the NFL. In fact, he has the makeup to potentially be the best running back in the league. However, I just don’t see enough evidence to support taking running backs in the first round and I still had over a dozen players graded higher on my draft board when the Steelers were on the clock. Harris will be very good, but as it goes with running backs, his time on top will likely be brief.