The Steelers got an absolute gem in Najee Harris. He’s fast as hell, strong, and can catch. He’s basically a Diet Derrick Henry, but with actual catching ability. However, Not enough people are talking about the splash impact of Najee Harris for this Steeler offense.
The Steelers ranked 29th in total rushing stats last year because of inconsistency at the position. Conner looked like a shell of what he was his Sophomore year to say the least. Getting 721 yards on 169 attempts is atrocious.
There should be some blame put on the Steelers offensive line. They ranked towards the top in pass blocking, but that’s half the battle. The Steelers ranked 31st in run blocking.
Because of that, the Steelers had to pass more, which worked at first, but time eventually caught up with Big Ben and he lost velocity on his arm causing them to look lost in the second half of the season. (Remember when Claypool was in the ROY discussion 😮)
We already know that Ben works better with a strong pass catching back like Bell, which tells me that Harris will shine in their system. That also tells me that Harris will have a ripple effect and open up the deep third and create opportunities for Claypool and in turn Juju in the slot.
As much as I hate to give the Steelers credit, Ben works better when he has the entire field to play with. The short passing game didn’t do enough for their offense. Ben needs the deep ball, not constantly, but he needs that option.
Harris fills a much needed gap in this offense and there is no reason to suspect that the Steelers won’t become a top-5 offense. Now pair that with their Top-5 defense and Mike Tomlin has a deep playoff contender.