Steelers can’t afford to wait at running back, must select Najee Harris

The Pittsburgh Steelers clearly have an apparent substitute for James Conner in terms of the NFL Draft 

James Conner’s legacy in Pittsburgh was cemented nicely earlier than he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a Pitt Panther, he overcame Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma earlier than changing into a third-round decide by the hometown crowd.

4 years later, he says goodbye to the Metal Metropolis.

Conner agreed to phrases with the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year deal value  $1.75. Though he received’t be assured the beginning function, Conner is an improve over Chase Edmonds and brings the burly run recreation to the desert.

Alas, this creates an issue for the already woeful Steelers’ run recreation.

Conner was the lead again over the previous three seasons with Le’Veon Bell’s departure. Throughout that span, they’ve ranked thirty first, twenty ninth and thirty second in speeding yards and thirty first, twentieth and twenty eighth in makes an attempt.

Pittsburgh hasn’t had a 1,000-yard runner since 2017. Previous to that?  Rashard Mendenhall in 2010.  And whereas taking a working again within the first spherical is way from excellent, one possibility must be on the Steelers’ thoughts.

If accessible at No. 24, Alabama’s Najee Harris must be donning the black and yellow in 2021.

Harris suits the bruiser running-style in Pittsburgh

An total respectable working again class leaves worth in Days 2 and three for Pittsburgh to seize a reputation on Friday evening. They nonetheless received’t be deciding on in Spherical 2 till the No. 55 decide, that means Harris, Clemson’s Travis Etienne and UNC’s Javonte Williams would all be lengthy gone.

Harris is extra than simply the one-trick pony most working backs are labeled. Throughout his remaining season with the Crimson Tide, the California native confirmed pace, agility and imaginative and prescient when profitable within the open discipline.

The kicker? His brute power within the trenches.

In a COVID-19 season that featured video games towards solely SEC opponent, Harris outshined the likes of names like Trent Richardson, Shaun Alexander and even Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. In opposition to a few of school soccer’s finest protection, Harris recorded 26 speeding touchdowns on his strategy to a nationwide title.

The 12 months prior, he recorded 13. Harris additionally averaged at the very least 5.8 yards per run.

Is the passing recreation not essential to the Steelers? It’s the one factor retaining them in rivalry.

As a swing possibility in Steve Sarkisian’s system, Harris averaged over 9.3 yard per catch on at the very least 27 catches in a season. He additionally recorded 11 complete touchdowns as a receiving possibility. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a career-worst in 6.3 yards per throw, that means he’s regressing as a passer.

The Steelers even have met with Harris, in line with The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly, throughout Alabama’s Professional Day.

In a category loaded with expertise at offensive deal with, cornerback and inside offensive line, Kevin Colbert can danger breaking the rule for the suitable runner when on the clock at No. 24. Understanding Pittsburgh’s previous of downtrodden working has restricted the offense, including a plug-and-play working again will maintain them alive within the AFC North.

Harris is that one and solely plug-and-play runner.

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