Just how effective will Steelers RB Najee Harris be as a rookie?

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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Mark Ingram #21 of the Baltimore Ravens (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Steelers’ playoff impact

Let’s start getting into the really important areas to focus on here: playoff appearances and wins. This is where the study starts to really go against the idea of taking a running back in the first. Starting off, besides the running backs that are still on their first deals, the average length of time that a first-round running back spends on their original team is a smidge under 4.5 years. That is to be expected, as once again running backs shelf lives aren’t long.

So, taking that average into consideration, the average number of playoff games that a first-round running back played in with their original team averaged out to a paltry two total playoff games. Mark Ingram had the most, playing in eight playoff games during his coincidentally longest eight years he spent with his originally drafted team. While that is better than the averages, it still isn’t like having a first-round running back meant the team suddenly was a regular team in the playoffs.

Worse yet is the playoffs win, as they averaged out to only one total playoff win from the time that a rookie running back was drafted to when they left their original team. Most of these running backs found decent success in either their rookie seasons or the long term. Take Doug Martin, the second-best rookie back, who delivered zero playoff wins and appearances for his team. Even some backs that have registered a playoff win (Rashaad Penny) wasn’t his team’s lead rusher for that win.

The most damaging stat in the case of the Steelers is that only seven (less than half) of the teams that drafted a running back in the first round made the playoffs in that first season. For a team that is likely about to go through a bit of a low period as Ben Roethlisberger likely retires after this season, getting into the playoffs this year and winning this year is key. Those numbers aren’t supported by taking a first-round running back.