Prospect evaluation of Alabama RB Najee Harris for the 2021 NFL Draft, which includes his strengths, weaknesses, and projection.
Name: Najee Harris
Weight: 230 lbs
= Key Terms =
Grading Scale: Poor, Marginal, Adequate, Solid, Good, Great, Elite
Role: Developmental Player, Backup, Complementary Player, Starter, Franchise Player
= Strengths =
Great vision & patience; runs with good pacing behind LOS; incorporates a rhythmic bounce to his approach.
Aware of 2nd-level defenders and will bait them with proper path & footwork to create blocking leverage.
Great spatial awareness through traffic; rides close to OL and squeezes through small creases.
Good mental processing & awareness of down and distance; will get north-south in 3rd & short situations.
Good agility & quickness; sinks hips and gets low to transfer weight on cuts; surprisingly elusive.
Avoids low-attacking tackle attempts by using signature hurdle move.
Almost always makes the first defender miss; forces missed tackles at a high rate with elusiveness or power.
Good use of juke combined with stiff arm to gain leverage and overpower defenders.
Good burst and acceleration; runs with good pacing and tempo to keep defenders on their heels.
Great contact balance; sheds and bounces off tackle attempts targeting his high and midsections.
Great power; very strong; leg churner who will pull and drag defenders to pick up additional yards.
Aggressive, angry runner who looks to punish defenders with physicality.
Runs with low pad level despite large size; lowers shoulders for better leverage upon impact.
Great receiver; hands catcher who plucks the ball smoothly out of the air.
Has run a variety of routes out of the backfield including wheel and angle; gets separation vs LBs.
Has experience lining up wide and not just as a decoy; receiving option on intermediate routes.
Great ball security; 3 fumbles in 718 career touches from scrimmage.
= Weaknesses =
Takes a while to cut when throttling down; not quick enough to gather and transfer momentum on a dime.
Path can improve on zone runs; needs sharper and more defined cuts.
Can get caught running too close to his OL and will run into them, negatively altering his path.
Still learning not to be an upright runner who exposes himself to unnecessary hits.
Brought down often by shoe-string tackles and defenders grabbing his ankles.
Unable to hit another gear of speed once in the 2nd and 3rd levels of the defense.
Doesn’t identify blitz keys and misses assignments, often having blitzers run right by him.
Not aggressive enough in pass protection; takes on too much contact and doesn’t engage with leverage.
= Other =
Tall, muscular build. Five-star recruit coming out of high school. Starting RB for Alabama in 2019 (true Junior) and 2020 (true senior).
Pro Comparison: Matt Forte
= Projection (Role & Fit) =
Najee Harris projects as a Great featured/starting RB with possible Elite upside. He’s capable of carrying a full workload of touches. He can be used in either zone or gap run-blocking schemes. His calling card is his tough, hard-nosed running style that, combined with his power, makes him a great runner to grind out yards on a consistent down-to-down basis. However, he’s not just a one-dimensional power runner. He possesses impressive elusiveness to his game that makes him effective in open space as well as in traffic. Furthermore, he brings versatility as a nuanced receiver with reliable hands and can be used in creative ways in the passing game. Harris needs to be coached up in pass protection; someone his size shouldn’t be getting pushed back as often as he does. Overall, Harris is a special blend of size, power, movement skills, and versatility.
Najee Harris Draft Prospect Evaluation pic.twitter.com/0d72WsGK8k
— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) February 18, 2021