Ranking Steelers 2021 draft picks from worst to best

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris (22) Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

Najee Harris is my 2nd highest draft grade

First, if it wasn’t for the guy I am grading the highest, this list would have been so much easier at the top. Harris was both the best player available, and an elite running back is the best way to give your offensive line a boost. He is a powerful runner that can cut his line some slack being able to consistently break the first tackle.

He is essentially a freak athlete. His speed is above average for his size, he is explosive enough to hurdle a defender, then outrun a safety for another 20+ yard. He can catch out of the backfield and he can pass protect. He is a do-it-all back and should be a top 10 rusher in the league year 1 regardless of the offensive line.

He is a special player. I was excited when we drafted him even though a 1st round pick for a running back is going against the trend in the modern NFL. Do I think the Steelers could have picked another prospect down the line? Yes, but the top 3 running backs were gone mid-way through the 2nd round and I don’t believe for a second that this would’ve changed had Pittsburgh not taken Harris first.

The only singular thing that bothers me even slightly about this pick is that Harris should start to peak in years 2 or 3. He will then likely only have 3-4 more years of elite production before he starts to slow down. The shelf-life on running backs aside from Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore is rather short. A first-round pick is a ton of capital to use on a player who likely can’t give you his best much longer than his rookie contract. I hope he is just built different and can be elite for 10 years, believe me I am rooting for him. I do love the pick and it is definitely a win-now move. It fills a gaping need with an incredible talent. Yet, for the future, it isn’t likely that Harris will still be around at the age of 30+ like a lot of offensive linemen could have been.

Najee Harris: A