AFC North RB #2: Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris
A physical brand of football excites fans in Acrisure Stadium on Sunday. It's been a part of Pittsburgh's winning formula for decades despite innovations to the game. In 2021, the Steelers exchanged their first-round pick for a running back that exuded physicality. Najee Harris displayed speed and athletic abilities that made defending him unimaginable. He was a refreshing sight for spectators that valued powerful rushing performances. His transition to the professional stage has been smooth but more is desired.
A heavy workload helped Pittsburgh's rookie get his feet wet. In 2021, Harris ranked second in carried (307) behind Jonathan Taylor. He also ranked fourth in rushing yards (1,200). Pittsburgh's former first-round pick proved to the league that he could handle a heavy workload. He was willing to carry his team to the next level. It will just take time to get there.
Matt Canada's offense has been under construction during the past few seasons. His schemes were good enough to help the franchise achieve a winning record. However, it's been difficult for breakout players to shine. Harris saw a decrease in rushing yards and yards per carry in 2022 due to a lack of balance of offense. Additions to the roster and experience will help Pittsburgh's tailback achieve greatness this year. If Matt Canada's offense flows well, Harris could have his best season as a professional.