Mike Tomlin sees a lot to be excited about in Najee Harris

USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers made a significant investment to improve their offense’s ground attack by making Najee Harris the first running back taken in the 2021 draft.

Pittsburgh finished the 2020 season last in rushing yards, but that should change with Harris in tow. Though the running back wasn’t doing all that much in rookie minicamp over the weekend, he made a positive impression on his new head coach.

“He is a sharp guy,” Mike Tomlin said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “He is a football guy. You can tell he is passionate about football. He can articulate the game very well, so it’s a lot to be excited about.

“It is more noticeable simply because there’s not a lot of people to work with. He’s getting an opportunity to work one-on-one with coach [Eddie] Faulkner at the running back position that provides plenty of opportunity for him to verbalize his knowledge and things of that nature.”

Harris rushed for 1,466 yards with 26 touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 425 yards with four TDs as a senior at Alabama. He said over the weekend he’s starting back at step one in his transition to the game’s highest level. But his ability should help a club that averaged a league-worst 3.6 yards per carry in 2020.

6 responses to “Mike Tomlin sees a lot to be excited about in Najee Harris

  1. The Steelers running game problems in 2020 had nothing to do with their running backs. The five or six times a running play was called, they had nowhere to go, often getting hit in the backfield or having a wall of bodies in front of them. Harris may be a good one but they’re going to need to change more than the RB room to get rushing production.

  2. The reason why the steelers averaged 3.6 per carry is because the Offensive Line was bad and the game plan cartered too much to ben.

  3. If you think the RBs had nothing to do with the horrible output, you don’t know football. The quality of your RBs absolutely has something to do with it. Bell, in his prime, turned a two yard loss into a two yard gain or a three yard gain into four or five yards. That ability to constantly move the sticks, and out your offence in a better position, was not present amongst the RB group last year (post Conner injuries).

    Case in point, Conner racked up yards early, and the running attack was good. When he was injured, they lost momentum. Think the OL got worse during that time?

  4. Those writing off Ben and the running game will be eating their words come December.

  5. They have the Rb. It’s up to this new O line to make sure the Steelers can run the ball effectively when they need to.

  6. I think a lot had to do with DeCastro playing hurt. He being healthy along with drafting a big tight end to block will help Ben get time and open the edge and some holes. It may take a bit to gel but I am sure we will see Harris with some extra yards through blocking and Harris causing some missed tackles.

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