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RB Najee Harris, PIT


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Alabama Pro Day (part deux) gives Dolphins a look at a dual threat player for the first round

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The idea of having the Miami Dolphins land Najee Harris with their second pick of the NFL Draft’s first round -- No. 18 overall -- has usually come with the thought the team needs to upgrade its running game.

Miami was, after all, 29th in the league in rush yards per attempt last season and the 3.9 yard per carry average made the Dolphins one of only four teams to average less than 4 yards per carry.

So Najee Harris, right?

He’s a running back. He was Alabama’s starter last year. And he’s arguably the best running back in the draft.

But Tuesday, with Dolphins general manager Chris Grier in attendance, Harris gave teams considering him in the draft another reason to pick him: He has become a truly accomplished receiver.

And the Dolphins need a reliable pass catcher in the backfield if they can get one because #LoadupforTua.

Harris didn’t run a 40-yard dash but did his position drills at the University of Alabama’s second pro day on Tuesday. He also caught a lot of passes.

And it was impressive. 

He ran wheel routes

He ran option routes.

He ran seam routes from the slot.

He ran out-and-up routes.

He ran angle routes.

The dude even ran a sluggo (slant and go) lined up as a receiver.

And, yes, Harris ran all the requisite routes out of play action in the backfield as well.

“I didn’t want to run just the basic swings, and the flat arrows and the 5-yard curls,” Harris told the NFL Network. “...You saw me do everything, really, that a wide receiver would do.”

Throughout the drills, in service to quarterback Mac Jones on his second workout for scouts within a week, Harris displayed soft and strong hands. He didn’t double catch passes. 

He looked very good.

“In terms of route polish and his ability to do everything in the passing game, to me, he’d be right up there at the top of the list,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Harris.

And this: Harris rushed for 1,466 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per attempt last season, which is good. But he also caught 43 passes for 425 yards and a 9.9 yard-per-catch average.

In the National Championship Game Harris rushed 22 times for 79 yards and also caught seven passes for 79 yards. He scored three touchdowns that night — two rushing and one receiving.

So in a game dominated by teammate DeVonta Smith, Harris accounted for 168 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns. 

So Harris offers NFL teams an accomplished runner. But Tuesday’s pro day reminded he has also become an accomplished receiver.

“He’s upped his stock because he is a very good receiver.” said former Auburn coach Gene Chzik, now an analyst for the SEC Network.

And so we’ve reached the key question in this column: Is Harris a viable choice for the Dolphins with the No. 18 overall selection.

Well, drafting a running back that high is lately not en vogue among NFL teams. But you just read the reasons to do exactly that — because he’s a complementary player for the running and passing games.

But the Dolphins, with trader general manager Chris Grier at the helm of the draft, might also consider trading down from No. 18 and still get Harris.

Here’s how it might work: The team to be concerned about coveting Harris is the Pittsburgh Steelers at No 24 overall in the first round.

The Steelers need a lead back.

Harris, at 230 pounds, is their kind of running back.

And No. 24 is about the place where Harris becomes a definite value pick.

That means if the Dolphins have a desire to pick Harris, they might consider trading down as far as No. 22 overall — because Washington (No. 19), Chicago (No. 20), Indianapolis (No. 21) and Tennessee (No. 22) don’t really need a running back.

The Washington Football Team last season drafted 220-pound Antonio Gibson. The Bears have Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery. The Colts wisely drafted Jonathan Taylor last year. The Titans have the NFL’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry.

So the Dolphins could drop and still be relatively certain the Steelers, who have other needs along the offensive line and on defense, probably won’t jump them in order to grab Harris.

Also, look at the rest of the teams remaining at the bottom of the first round. Which need a running back?

Jacksonville at No. 25? Maybe, but they have 1,000-yard rusher James Robinson.

Cleveland at No. 26? Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

Baltimore at No. 27. They bled talent in free agency and none of it at running back that they valued.

New Orleans at No. 28? Alvin Kamara.

Green Bay at No. 29? Maybe, but Aaron Jones.

Buffalo at No. 30? They’re picking at No. 30. The Dolphins have a lot of work to do, folks. 

Anyway, the Bills are going to keep filling in a strong roster, and they truly are in position to draft best player available.

Kansas City at No. 31. They have no one to play offensive tackle right now.

Tampa Bay at No. 32? They re-signed Leonard Fournette.

The coast is clear for the Dolphins to not just get Harris but get him possibly in a trade-down. And they would get an accomplished runner and a pass catcher out of the backfield.
 

 

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NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports there are "no concerns" about RB Najee Harris' injured ankle. 

Rapoport added that there are no long-term issues with Devonta Smith's dislocated finger with torn ligaments. that Harris' ankle isn't expected to affect his draft standing. Harris, who rushed for 2,670 yards and scored an eye-popping 50 touchdowns over his final two years at Alabama, sat out the Senior Bowl in January as he recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in Alabama's national championship win over Ohio State. NBC Sports Edge's Thor Nystrom ranks Harris as the No. 2 running back in the 2021 draft, behind only Javonte Williams. Harris' ankle issue won't stop him from being a first rounder. 

RELATED: 

Devonta Smith

SOURCE: Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Apr 14, 2021, 9:31 AM ET

 

 

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2 hours ago, Andy Dufresne said:

I find myself almost unable to push many, many chips into the center of the table in order to be able to draft him. 

I'm confused. Does that mean you are pushing the chips in to get him, or not?

I just traded 1.04 and 1.12 for 1.01 and 3.01 in one league (single QB). Planning on Harris there.

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2 minutes ago, jtd13 said:

I'm confused. Does that mean you are pushing the chips in to get him, or not?

I just traded 1.04 and 1.12 for 1.01 and 3.01 in one league (single QB). Planning on Harris there.

I meant that so far I've been able to keep myself from pushing in the chips - but I'm increasingly unable to. That was poorly written.

I really want to have him on the roster. He's the #1 RB and I can't be convinced otherwise. 

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1 minute ago, Andy Dufresne said:

I meant that so far I've been able to keep myself from pushing in the chips - but I'm increasingly unable to. That was poorly written.

I really want to have him on the roster. He's the #1 RB and I can't be convinced otherwise. 

Gotcha. That's what I thought you meant, you're almost unable to stop yourself. 

I agree with the bolded! I'm fairly underwhelmed by Etienne and Javonte. This guy is huge, runs patient, and catches really well. The only negative for me is that he's 23. If he were 21 he'd be a Zeke level prospect for me. And if he ends up on the Steelers his rookie year might look a lot like Zeke's.

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15 minutes ago, jtd13 said:

Gotcha. That's what I thought you meant, you're almost unable to stop yourself. 

I agree with the bolded! I'm fairly underwhelmed by Etienne and Javonte. This guy is huge, runs patient, and catches really well. The only negative for me is that he's 23. If he were 21 he'd be a Zeke level prospect for me. And if he ends up on the Steelers his rookie year might look a lot like Zeke's.

It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage. - Indiana Jones

He wasn't overused in college. I don't care a whit about his age.

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19 hours ago, Andy Dufresne said:

It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage. - Indiana Jones

He wasn't overused in college. I don't care a whit about his age.

I agree - if you got 6 years out of him who would complain about that?

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7 hours ago, Dr. Octopus said:

I agree - if you got 6 years out of him who would complain about that?

Well it's not a huge deal, but I care a bit. I'm just saying if he were 2 years younger like a lot of the RBs last year, he'd be an almost perfect prospect in my book. All else equal I'd prefer a guy like Taylor last year, with a heavier workload in college but 21 years old entering the league. It gives him some value insulation if he doesn't have a great year 1.

I'm still taking Najee at 1. 

Edited by jtd13
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On 4/15/2021 at 11:01 AM, Andy Dufresne said:

It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage. - Indiana Jones

He wasn't overused in college. I don't care a whit about his age.

 

16 hours ago, Dr. Octopus said:

I agree - if you got 6 years out of him who would complain about that?

I disagree somewhat on age vs. mileage.  I think it's likely both, with more weight to age.

That said, even that part aside, it will definitely affect his value sooner rather than later.  I know most of us here prefer some flexibility with our roster, and to be frank most of us here just get plain bored with players after a few years and are ready for the next new toy.  Najee's age is going to be much more of an issue 2-4 years out than it is now.

Most of the current top RBs in fantasy came into the league young, so it's an easy exercise to consider how their value would be impacted if they were two years older right now.  Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook are top 10 startup picks.  What would their value be right now if they were a couple months away from turning 28 rather than a couple months away from 26?  What would Saquon's value be if he were a 26 year old coming off an ACL tear rather than a 24 year old coming off an ACL tear?

And that's considering players that have actually been successful when they most recently played.  This huge value drop only magnifies when a player shows signs of weakness.  Then 2 years of age makes a massive difference in their value.

Muscle Hamster is a perfect example of this I think.  He came into the league at roughly the same age as Najee.  He had an awesome rookie year and no one cared about his age.  Then he had a down sophomore year, got started slowly in year 3, and all of the sudden he was toast.  No one wanted to touch him.  In year 4 he bounced back and put up 1400+ rushing yards and a #3 overall fantasy RB finish and his value was still extremely muted.  Because by then he was 27, going to turn 28 by the time he next stepped onto the field.

Compare that to someone like Joe Mixon.  Somewhat similar career path.  Coming off a lot of disappointment in his 3rd year, but still a respectable 3rd round pick in startup drafts.  Compare that to Muscle Hamster, who with a similar career path but two extra years of age was a 10th round pick (!!) in startup drafts heading into his 4th year.

Now let's say hypothetically Mixon bounces back this year and puts up 1400+ rushing yards and is the #3 scoring RB in fantasy.  His value will jump right back into the 1st round of startup drafts, likely a top 10 dynasty player.  But when Muscle Hamster did the same thing in his 4th year he was still only a mid/late 4th round pick in startup drafts the following season.

I'm not saying it means avoid Harris by any means, or even that he should be the 1.01 pick.  But I don't think it should just be brushed off as nothing.  In the current dynasty landscape 2 years of age for a RB is a very big deal.

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I just can't get behind gauging a guy based on startup value. I just can't.

Instead, just look how difficult it is to get what you think is commensurate value for trading away an elite back these days. Nobody's getting what they think CMC, Kamara, Barkley, Elliott et al is worth because those looking to buy know they don't want to give up multiple pieces of guys earlier in their careers in return.

When it's a running back, all I care about is what can someone do for my team for the next four years - at most. That's regardless of starting age.

"What would their value be right now if they were a couple months away from turning 28 rather than a couple months away from 26?  What would Saquon's value be if he were a 26 year old coming off an ACL tear rather than a 24 year old coming off an ACL tear?"

For me? The same. Because I'm interested in the total amount of  usable elite years. Which is about four for an NFL RB.

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1 hour ago, Andy Dufresne said:

I just can't get behind gauging a guy based on startup value. I just can't.

Instead, just look how difficult it is to get what you think is commensurate value for trading away an elite back these days. Nobody's getting what they think CMC, Kamara, Barkley, Elliott et al is worth because those looking to buy know they don't want to give up multiple pieces of guys earlier in their careers in return.

This is certainly true, but it scales with the 2 years older guys as well.  Sure people aren't getting 1.05 startup trade value for Kamara or Barkley, but they're still getting a lot.

Kamara honestly is kind of the perfect example.  If you saw Kamara traded for the 1.08 rookie pick right now everyone in the league would vote to veto and kick the owner trading away Kamara out of the league.  But that's the kind of value Doug Martin was going for coming off of a #3 RB finish in his 4th year in the league.  So even though Kamara is "only" pulling in 2-3 1sts in trade value right now after his 4th year in the league, it's still a heck of a lot more than the 2 years old Muscle Hamster was pulling after his 4th season.

 

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"What would their value be right now if they were a couple months away from turning 28 rather than a couple months away from 26?  What would Saquon's value be if he were a 26 year old coming off an ACL tear rather than a 24 year old coming off an ACL tear?"

For me? The same. Because I'm interested in the total amount of  usable elite years. Which is about four for an NFL RB.

Fair enough if you can really stick to that.  I know my own weaknesses and I think a lot of FF owners share them.  The only RB I've owned for his whole career is Adrian Peterson and Najee is no Peterson.

The way people are looking to get out from under Dalvin/Kamara/etc right now while they still have value to flip them into younger pieces is the same way people will be looking to get out from Najee (assuming he actually hits) a few years into his career while he still has value.  The problem is 3-4 years into Najee's career he will have a lot less value than Dalvin/Kamara have right now, almost regardless of how he performs.

If you're the type that truly plans to draft him and then watch him retire on your team then more power to you, that is probably a great asset as an owner.  I think most of us that spend so much time on forums like these typically like to tinker and a guy we spent a (very) premium pick on having minimal trade value right when we're looking to tinker our way into a new hot asset is not a dealbreaker, but is not something to just shrug off either.

I doubt many Kamara/Cook owners would say they completely wouldn't care if those guys were 2 years older and could only fetch a late 1st round rookie pick in trades right now.

Edited by FreeBaGeL
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I agree that his age is a factor, but not just because of the likely shorter window for FF that he'll have. Harris didn't really do much in college until his junior season, when he was 21 years old, and his huge season last year came as a 22 year old. It's a little less impressive when compared with someone like Etienne, who broke out as a 19 year old sophomore.

Not enough to drastically change his value or ranking or anything, but it's definitely something to consider IMO.

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32 minutes ago, humpback said:

I agree that his age is a factor, but not just because of the likely shorter window for FF that he'll have. Harris didn't really do much in college until his junior season, when he was 21 years old, and his huge season last year came as a 22 year old. It's a little less impressive when compared with someone like Etienne, who broke out as a 19 year old sophomore.

Not enough to drastically change his value or ranking or anything, but it's definitely something to consider IMO.

It’s hard to do something at Alabama until it’s “your turn” - their backfield is stacked each and every year. I get that being older gives him an advantage at that level but generally speaking I don’t hold breakout age (or usage rates) against Alabama skill players.

Edited by Dr. Octopus
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1 hour ago, Dr. Octopus said:

It’s hard to do something at Alabama until it’s “your turn” - their backfield is stacked each and every year. I get that being older gives him an advantage at that level but generally speaking I don’t hold breakout age (or usage rates) against Alabama skill players.

Yeah I know, and like I said I don't ding him for it, but it is more of a plus to me when someone does it at a younger age vs. older. I think of it sort of like 40 times for a RB- not a huge factor as long as it's in a reasonable range, but all else being equal of course I'd prefer someone ran a faster time than a slower one.

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7 minutes ago, humpback said:

Yeah I know, and like I said I don't ding him for it, but it is more of a plus to me when someone does it at a younger age vs. older. I think of it sort of like 40 times for a RB- not a huge factor as long as it's in a reasonable range, but all else being equal of course I'd prefer someone ran a faster time than a slower one.

I prefer Chase or Pitts over Harris, ETN, or Williams in dynasty if I have a top 3 pick,  even if I'm desperate for a RB.  I know that sounds crazy, but that is where I'm at today.

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2 minutes ago, JohnnyU said:

I prefer Chase or Pitts over Harris, ETN, or Williams in dynasty if I have a top 3 pick,  even if I'm desperate for a RB.  I know that sounds crazy, but that is where I'm at today.

I am in the same place...

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I don't care about age.  Who cares what a guy's "value" is?  His value is how many points he can score for me for as long as he can do it.  I don't care about future trade value when I'm drafting a rookie.

ETA: If you want to use age to distinguish between prospects, that's something different.

Edited by zed2283
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24 minutes ago, JohnnyU said:

I prefer Chase or Pitts over Harris, ETN, or Williams in dynasty if I have a top 3 pick,  even if I'm desperate for a RB.  I know that sounds crazy, but that is where I'm at today.

Wait until Chase ends up in Miami with the weakling Tua at QB. That’s my fear.

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4 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

If they don’t take a LT their GM should be sued for malpractice. 

I personally wouldn't take Sewell (sp?) over Chase.  I don't think he is dominate enough that he should be taken top 5.  Maybe 6 to 10 area.  Not enough to choose him over someone like Chase or Pitts.

Edited by JohnnyU
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6 minutes ago, JohnnyU said:

I personally wouldn't take Sewell (sp?) over Chase.  I don't think he is anything special, especially top 5.  Maybe 6 to 10 area.  Not enough to choose him over someone like Chase or Pitts.

I'm with you plus it's considered one of deeper OL drafts in years, they signed Reiff as stop gap and I expect they can and would address OL with round 2+.

Part of why I obviously can't wait for the draft, what SF and Cincy do at 3/5 will have such key ramifications for most of top 10 picks.

ETA to add pick 5, I forgot ATL at 4 but what they do as well.

Edited by menobrown
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44 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

If they don’t take a LT their GM should be sued for malpractice. 

If they grade the many tier 2 LT prospects as starting caliber (and many do) then this plan makes sense. 

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6 hours ago, Soulfly3 said:

he almost won the heisman, right?

He finished 5th in voting, was only 3rd in Heisman votes on his team though. I don't think Heisman votes matter at all for the NFL. 

7 hours ago, humpback said:

I agree that his age is a factor, but not just because of the likely shorter window for FF that he'll have. Harris didn't really do much in college until his junior season, when he was 21 years old, and his huge season last year came as a 22 year old. It's a little less impressive when compared with someone like Etienne, who broke out as a 19 year old sophomore.

Not enough to drastically change his value or ranking or anything, but it's definitely something to consider IMO.

I wouldn't count 790 yards,4 TDs, 6.5 ypc as a sophomore at Alabama playing in a backfield with Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris as doing nothing. 

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1 hour ago, Ilov80s said:

He finished 5th in voting, was only 3rd in Heisman votes on his team though. I don't think Heisman votes matter at all for the NFL. 

5th in the entire country for the heisman is "almost winning" it, imo.

and he's a rb... Bush, Ingram and Henry the only 3 since 2000 to win it. 

i do agree with you that heisman votes dont matter for the nfl, but his pedigree is off the charts

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8 minutes ago, Soulfly3 said:

5th in the entire country for the heisman is "almost winning" it, imo.

and he's a rb... Bush, Ingram and Henry the only 3 since 2000 to win it. 

i do agree with you that heisman votes dont matter for the nfl, but his pedigree is off the charts

Yes but there are 2-4 RBs who finish top 10 in voting every year. Many of them were huge hits for fantasy: Jonathan Taylor, CMC, Zeke. Some not so much: Bryce Hall, Toby Gerhart, Andre Williams. 

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2 hours ago, Soulfly3 said:

so we're at a point now that sewell isn't a top 10 pick but lance is a top 3? jeez

Who has Lance going three? Most of the mocks are Lawrence, Wilson, Fields or Jones. Lance maybe to ATL or ATL trades down and somebody trades up for Lance, or if Jones goes three, then trade up for Fields or ATL takes him for the future. Lance seems to be out of the top three any way you slice it according to most. But who knows? That's the fun of the draft, eh?

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2 hours ago, rockaction said:

Who has Lance going three? Most of the mocks are Lawrence, Wilson, Fields or Jones. Lance maybe to ATL or ATL trades down and somebody trades up for Lance, or if Jones goes three, then trade up for Fields or ATL takes him for the future. Lance seems to be out of the top three any way you slice it according to most. But who knows? That's the fun of the draft, eh?

He has another pro day coming up on Monday so he’ll get some hype.

Edited by Snorkelson
Heads gonna talk about something
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5 hours ago, Soulfly3 said:

so we're at a point now that sewell isn't a top 10 pick but lance is a top 3? jeez

Lance was some people's #2 before his season got cut to one game. Daniel Jeremiah being one of them so not just off the wall kooks.

 

2 hours ago, rockaction said:

Who has Lance going three? Most of the mocks are Lawrence, Wilson, Fields or Jones.

I'm for sure not convinced Lance is out of the running for 3 to SF.  He's been my original call to them since they got the pick. Now I'll admit I've wavered big time on that as the rumor mill made me question what I thought but in just the last hour I've read stuff saying it's between Lance and Fields at 3.

At this point I'm not going to be surprised to see SF take any of those 3 QB's. I'm not sure what they gain by creating a smokescreen, heck maybe they legit don't know yet, but they sure created a lot of doubt which way they are going.

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4 minutes ago, menobrown said:

Lance was some people's #2 before his season got cut to one game. Daniel Jeremiah being one of them so not just off the wall kooks.

I'm for sure not convinced Lance is out of the running for 3 to SF. 

I think Lance is Waldman's second. I wasn't saying that it came out of nowhere. I'm talking about everything we've been hearing since the trade. Lance is barely mentioned to SF.

As for you being convinced, he might not be out of the running for SF, but very few people are talking about it, despite what you've heard the past few hours. Not saying you're wrong and not saying that you're not hearing it, but the overwhelming consensus has been that it's Jones or Fields. Now maybe what happened with Clyde Edwards-Helaire last year happens again and you're spot-on; I just doubt it.

But I've been wrong before...

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  • Faust changed the title to RB Najee Harris, PIT

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