2021 NFL Draft Profile: RB Najee Harris
It’s rare to find an RB prospect that has the size of Harris paired with his movability. However, not only is Harris just a big, physical presence playing RB, he’s one of the most well-rounded players coming out in recent history.
Harris has the ability to handle a ridiculous workload on the ground due to his size and physical traits, but he can also be a valuable receiving weapon out of the backfield as well. Harris finished his 2020 season with 251 carries on the ground while also hauling in 43 receptions through the air.
The value of an RB like Harris – who can handle an absurd workload – in fantasy football cannot be overstated. Harris has a legitimate chance to be the first RB off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft and land in a spectacular spot for fantasy football with his skillset.
What exactly does he bring to the table, though? Can he emerge as one of the top fantasy RBs immediately?
These questions can be answered here in our detailed scouting profile on Najee Harris:
Weight: 230 lbs.
Skills Breakdown (out of 100)
Vision (78): Has elite vision for the position. He has steadily improved in this area over his college career and shows tremendous patience behind the line of scrimmage. Able to navigate tight windows incredibly well and very rarely bounces to the outside. Great footwork, too, that sets him up well to navigate traffic.
Burst (78): Given his size, it’s ridiculous how much burst and acceleration Harris has in his lower body. He’s able to go from a standstill jump cut to accelerating through a running lane five yards upfield almost instantly. When he has a running lane, he takes advantage of it. Explodes through.
Change of Direction (78): Tremendous body control for a man of his size and can put defenders in the spin cycle from time to time. Able to accelerate laterally extremely well, and his footwork is constantly setting him up for his next move.
Power (78): You’re not going to find a back in this class with more power than Najee Harris. At his size, he’ll be able to engage with any defender in the NFL at the second level. Has shown dramatic improvement in this area over the course of his college career. In 2018 scouting, I noted that he shied away from contact, which was bizarre for a player of his size. He’s learned to lower his shoulder and simply drive through tackles now. Very rarely is he brought down on first contact, and he’s able to carry defenders with him for additional yardage.
Speed (78): Harris won’t blow you away with his top-end speed, but he has more than enough to pull away from defenders in the open field. He’s unlikely to beat defenders in a foot race 60 yards downfield, but that’s not how he’s going to win in the NFL. He should run in the low 4.5’s at his Pro Day, which is great for a player of his size.
Contact Balance (79): Defenders bounce off of him in the open field, and arm tackles simply aren’t going to bring him down. His balance is one of his best assets.
Pass Catching (78): Incredible improvement in this area as well throughout his college career. He’s able to reel in one-handed catches easily and make them look natural. Not only is he not a liability in this area, which is atypical for a big and bruising back, but he can be a valuable asset out of the backfield as a receiver.
Pass Protection (72): Harris has shown improvement in this area too. Early on in his college career, he was a liability. Now, he’s willing to stand in and deliver a shot to a blitzing defender. Not very many examples of it on tape as he’s often sent out as a receiver, but he is far from a liability now.
All-22 Video 2018 || Alabama RB, Najee Harris [T1-RK5 2020 RB]
At 6’2″ 230lbs his footwork and agility is crazy. Showed flashes in 2018 and his 2019 film is even better
Rushing • 185-1088-11 (5.9YPC)
Receiving • 27-304-7 (11.3YPR)
I’m a big fan of his game and skill set pic.twitter.com/60qNBursmB
– Ray G ???? (@RayGQue) December 4, 2019
Najee Harris putting every single characteristic of a NFL RB on display with this run.
– Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) January 20, 2021
They Said It
Projected Draft Range
With Harris’ physical traits, combined with his refined skill set, there’s an excellent chance that we see Harris go off the board in the first 20 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spot
Any spot that Harris lands in is going to be just fine for his fantasy football outlook. However, the absolute best spot would be the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons brought in Arthur Smith as their new head coach, who was the OC in Tennessee for the past several seasons. Harris is not Derrick Henry, but he’d be able to handle a similar-sized workload for this offense. Atlanta would have to move out of the No. 4 overall pick to select him, but it’s a dream landing spot.
The popular comparisons out there for Harris are Steven Jackson and Matt Forte. With Harris’ blend of size, speed, and receiving chops, it’s not hard to see the similarities and the type of impact that Harris can make for fantasy football.
Najee Harris is a Matt Forte/Steven Jackson Combo. 2021 is coming! https://t.co/EXtk38dLEO
— Ray G ???? (@RayGQue) October 6, 2020
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