Hot Takes for Najee Harris, More Steelers Stars Ahead of Training Camp

Joe TanseyJuly 5, 2023

Hot Takes for Najee Harris, More Steelers Stars Ahead of Training Camp

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    PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 08: Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns at Acrisure Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the 2023 NFL season with a running back that has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

    The AFC North side could end the campaign with not one, but two, elite running backs on its roster.

    Jaylen Warren displayed signs of being a top running back last season, and he could take away some of Harris' production from the last two seasons.

    The Harris-Warren combination might be the most exciting part of the Steelers offense in 2023.

    Kenny Pickett's development will be vital to the passing attack being as lethal as the ground game.

    Pickett will be aided by a better George Pickens and an improved wide receiver depth chart that includes Diontae Johnson and offseason addition Allen Robinson.

Jaylen Warren Cuts into Najee Harris' Production

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    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 01: Jaylen Warren #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Warren's development as a play-making running back could be massive for the Steelers as they chase down the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.

    Warren showcased parts of his talents with 379 rushing yards on 77 carries last season.

    Harris is still the primary back in the Steelers offense, but he could see his production cut into a bit by Warren.

    Harris carried the ball 579 times in his first two seasons, and the Steelers could look into dropping his season total to around 200 rushes to preserve his legs.

    The Alabama product is still capable of turning in a 1,000-yard campaign, but he may take a hit in contending for the NFL rushing title.

    The development of a second star back is a good thing, and if Warren earns 200-300 yards more than his rookie season, the Steelers offense could look far better than it did in 2022.

Kenny Pickett Throws for 3,000 Yards

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:   Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) avoids a tackle then looks for a receiver during the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns at Acrisure Stadium on January 8, 2023 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Pickett has an opportunity to increase his passing-yard total by at least 600 yards in his sophomore season.

    The 2022 first-round pick threw for 2,404 yards and seven touchdowns across 13 games in his rookie campaign.

    The Steelers added Robinson to the wide receiver room, and Pickett should have an improved Pickens to work with in 2023.

    With three strong wide receivers, Pat Freiermuth in place at tight end and two good pass-catching running backs in place, Pickett has the perfect group of teammates in place to reach 3,000 yards.

    That should not seem like an overwhelming goal to reach for Pickett. It should be the bare minimum in this age of the NFL, where throwing for 4,000 yards in a season is not shocking anymore.

George Pickens Becomes Clear No. 1 Wide Receiver

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:  George Pickens #14 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Cleveland Browns on January 8, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Pickens' star potential was on display throughout his rookie season.

    The 2022 second-round pick hauled in 52 passes for 801 yards and four scores.

    Pickens' totals should increase across the board since he has more chemistry with Pickett and had a full offseason to grow into his role in the NFL.

    Pickens should benefit from having Johnson and Robinson to learn from, and there will games in which the two veteran wide receivers create space for the second-year player on the field.

    Pickens' goal should be to record a 1,000-yard season, and he could compete for the top receiving yard total in the NFL if he improves significantly.

    His minimum goal should be to take over the No. 1 wide receiver spot from Johnson and become the go-to guy inside the Pittsburgh offense.