The Pittsburgh Steelers found their new running back in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and Najee Harris already has his eye on outdoing Le’Veon Bell.
The Steelers drafted Najee Harris with hopes he’ll become the next Le’Veon Bell.
Having seen the way Pittsburgh used Bell in his prime, Harris thinks he can do even better.
“I feel like I can do all of that stuff, if not better,” Harris said, according to Ed Bouchette of The Athletic.
Najee Harris is aiming for success beyond Le’Veon Bell’s with the Steelers
The comparison with Bell is an obvious one with Harris going to the Steelers. It’s not solely based on team colors though. Harris really does possess many of the same traits that made Bell such a beast. He’s got a big frame, attacks defenders and can also catch passed out of the backfield.
As a senior at Alabama, where he starred with Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Harris averaged 5.8 yards per carry while racking up 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also had 425 yards and four touchdowns on 43 receptions.
Even before the draft, people were drawing that line between them.
Of course, truly matching Bell will be easier said than done. Bell had 860 yards rushing and 399 yards receiving as a rookie in 2013. He went on to post three 1,200 rushing-yard seasons in the next four seasons. He was the most devastating running back in the league.
There’s a lesson there as well. Bell sat out the 2018 season because of a contract dispute and ended up leaving for the Jets. The franchise will want to do a better job of making sure Harris is productive and happy to stick around for years to come.
The Steelers let last year’s leading rusher James Conner go in free agency, so the backfield will be Harris’ to own.