Pittsburgh Steelers GM Has No Qualms About Drafting Running Back Najee Harris With First-Round Pick

Published 05/08/2021, 8:45 AM EDT


For the Pittsburgh Steelers, 2020 was a year full of promise. The franchise started the season with an 11-0 record only to lose 4 of their 5 remaining games. 

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Still enough to make it to the Playoffs, the Steelers crashed out in the Wild Card Round to division rivals Cleveland Browns. While the Steelers were unstoppable at first, there was a chink in their armor that ultimately saw their season fall apart.

Their lack of a running game towards the latter half of the season was glaring. The Steelers ran shorter routes to gain yards through their core of wide receivers, but this was something that teams soon figured out. 

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With the Steelers needing to address their running back needs, it was almost certain that the franchise would pick a quality running back in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

But what many didn’t expect was the Steelers picking Alabama running back Najee Harris with their 1st-round pick. In a league that focuses more on passing these days, drafting a running back in the 1st-round is often frowned upon.  

But Steelers GM Kevin Colbert is confident that his side has made the right decision.

History favors Pittsburgh Steelers’ faith in Harris

Talking to SiriusXM NFL Radio, Colbert said that the team will always go for a quality player regardless of their position. 

“A great player is a great player regardless of the position. You know we can look at all that data, so on and so forth,” said Colbert.

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Colbert further said that drafting running backs in the 1st-round has, at times, reaped big rewards.  

“I’ve been around two Hall of Fame runners and they were both first-round picks in Jerome Bettis and Barry Sanders… So we don’t buy into that.”

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Colbert said that the franchise’s strategy remains simple. If a player can win you games, draft him regardless of where he plays.

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Najee Harris (Alabama) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over video call after being selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the number 24 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“We’re going to look at the player regardless of what condition, if that player can help us win games, he’s available to us. It’s our job to take him.”

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With Najee Harris set to start for the Packers come Week 1, do you think the Steelers can make a deep playoff with a running game in place?

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Shivayan Roy

1067 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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