Najee Harris NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Pittsburgh Steelers RB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IApril 30, 2021

Alabama running back Najee Harris (22) runs the ball and fights off a tackle attempt by Notre Dame linebacker Drew White (40) in the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

 6'1 "




—Tall, well-built running back who runs with patience and vision and finishes runs falling forward.

—Excellent contact balance. Will bounce off squared-up tacklers and run out of arm tackles—even defensive linemen's attempts to tackle.

—Tough runner. Rarely gets pushed back upon contact and will attempt to gain every possible yard.

—Very good footwork and running balance, especially for a running back of his size and height. Can maintain his base despite multiple cuts on a play. Rarely gets out of whack with his feet.

—Can contribute in any type of running scheme. Alabama runs a lot of counter, power and duo, which all translate nicely.

—Very good hands out of the backfield. Looks like he understands route depth and purpose when running routes and will generate yards after the catch with the ball in his hands.

—Size and competitiveness project him to be a good pass protector in the NFL. Did show good eyes versus pre-snap pressure looks.

—Will utilize an assortment of spins, hurdles and stiff-arms to break tackles. Not just a bruiser.



—Lacks true top-end home run speed. Doesn't bend his knees all the way when opening up.

—Rarely asked to pass-protect because of heavy run-pass-option and five-man protection schemes. Missed a blitz versus Georgia early on.

—Willing to take shots to try to gain extra yards. Those hits can add up in the NFL. Spin moves can also lead to fumbles, though that hasn't been an issue in college.



13 G, 251 carries, 1,466 yards, 5.8 avg., 26 TD, 43 rec., 425 yards, 4 TD



— 2020 first-team All-American

— 2020 Doak Walker Award winner



Harris is a tall, physical running back who can carry defenders for extra yards but has finesse to his game. His contact balance, play strength and size allow him to create yards that may not initially be there. He displays good footwork and patience to maximize the blocking on any play and does a nice job of setting up his blockers.

Harris also shows natural hands, is comfortable catching throws all around his body and even flashes the ability to track balls over his shoulder. He lacks home run speed, but his ability to be a productive player in any type of run scheme and in the passing game—as long as he picks up NFL protection schemes quickly—should make him a plug-and-play three-down running back.


GRADE: 8.0/10 (Late First Round/Early Second)





Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice


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