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2021 NFL Draft: 3 ways Najee Harris could help the Steelers in 2021

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected running back Najee Harris.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected running back Najee Harris.
Bethany Cohen
ANALYST
Modified 30 Apr 2021
Feature

With the 24th overall pick in the NFL 2021 draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Alabama running back Najee Harris.

The selection makes sense for many reasons because, along with other additions made in this year's draft, Najee Harris could allow the Steelers to improve on their late-season implosion last year.

On that note, let's take a look at how Najee Harris could help the Pittsburgh Steelers this season.

#1 Najee Harris could be a threat in the Steelers' backfield

The first way that Najee Harris could help the Pittsburgh Steelers this upcoming season is by being a threat out of the backfield. That is something the Steelers lacked in their running back room last season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were in search of a 'Le'Veon Bell' style back that would be a wrecking ball down the field and trouble opposing defenses. Last year with Alabama, Najee Harris caught 43 passes, totalling 425 yards.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama
CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama

#2 Najee Harris could help in the Pittsburgh Steelers' running game

The second way Najee Harris could help is simple: he could address the Pittsburgh Steelers' deficiencies in the running game last season.

Starter James Conner and backups Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland just couldn’t find any opportunities to get the rush going, averaging 3.5 yards a rush.

In 2020, Najee Harris averaged 5.8 yards per carry and wasn't even the dominant back in every series. Harris has the ability to make plays happen and make his defenders miss - an aspect the Pittsburgh Steelers missed in their depleting run game last season.


#3 Najee Harris could help Ben Roethlisberger

The third way Najee Harris could help the Pittsburg Steelers is by helping preserve quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's game.

Last season, Roethlisberger threw more passes per game than any other quarterback. He also threw ten interceptions, which didn't seem high, but when there wasn't a running game to develop, he was forced to throw the ball more often than he was comfortable doing.

When Ben Roethlisberger decided not to retire and restructure his contract, all attention was on the Pittsburg Steelers drafting a running back to help the 39-year-old. So a versatile rookie like Najee Harris in the backfield could do just that.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills

Najee Harris is expected to bring a spark the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense is in dire need of. Having a strong receiving core is a great plus for the Steelers, but giving the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback a threat out of the backfield would be a much welcome relief from last season.

Published 30 Apr 2021
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