The Alabama Crimson Tide's Najee Harris was the first running back taken at the 2021 NFL Draft when the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him 24th overall. Now, he'll have to deal with the lofty expectations that come with being drafted that high.
For starters, Harris will likely be the Steelers' top running back when the season begins. With the major workload he's likely to see, some experts are expecting him to be one of the top offensive rookies in his class. For example, ESPN's David Pollack is already picking Harris to be the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"He’s going to touch the ball a lot, he’s going to catch the ball a lot, he’s going to get a lot of fantasy football points — you’re welcome. He’s going to make a lot of money, do really well and be productive right away.”- David Pollack
Najee Harris Rookie of the Year Odds
After recording a league-worst 82.5 rushing yards per game in 2020, it's been obvious that the Steelers needed to improve their run game over the offseason. With a running back as dynamic as Harris leading the rush, they should be in good shape.
Across four seasons with Alabama, Harris rushed the ball 638 times for 3,843 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns. He's also a competent pass-catcher, which is something the Steelers have been lacking in recent years. Harris made 43 receptions for 425 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in 2020 alone, meaning he should add another dimension to Pittsburgh's backfield.
However, Harris will have a lot of work to do if he wants to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. FanDuel Sportsbook currently lists his odds to win it at +1600, which puts him in sole possession of ninth place.
While Harris might be a long shot right now, there's still the entire 2021 NFL season to play. In other words, he has a lot of time to improve his odds and silence the doubters. Besides, if anyone can do prove people wrong, it's Harris.
Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $1,000!