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4 Reasons Why Najee Harris Will Be a First Round Pick In the 2021 NFL Draft

| April 28, 2021 7:01 am PDT

No matter how good they are, running backs never seem to be guaranteed to be first-round picks in the NFL Draft.

That still won’t change in the 2021 NFL Draft, where quarterbacks look to dominate the top-5.

Of course, a few stud backs at least deserve a look in round one. Alabama masher Najee Harris arguably leads the pack.

You can actually bet on when Najee Harris will be drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, and I’m here to tell you why he’s a first-round lock.

The Odds Favor Najee Harris

One of the first things you can do is just go see what the 2021 NFL Draft odds say about when and where Najee Harris will be drafted.

You can do this in a number of ways, too. The first is by looking at his prop bet, which sets his draft range as an over/under at BetOnline.

  • Under 28.5 Pick (-150)
  • Over 28.5 Pick (+110)

These odds suggest Harris is likely to be taken within the first 29 picks. In theory, you’d be taking a risk to bet on him going after the first 28 picks.

In other words, he’s currently favored to be a first round pick by the top NFL Draft betting sites.

Harris Is the Best Back in This Class

Okay, this part is incredibly subjective, but it’s my take.

Our own writer, Michael Wynn, hypes up Javonte Williams in his 2021 NFL Draft running back rankings.

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I encourage you to read that post just to soak up all of the information you can, but I’ll also tell you why Najee Harris is the best running back in this draft class.

For starters, Harris has proven he can carry a full workload. He was a monster at Alabama, totaling 294 touches for 1,891 total yards and 30 total touchdowns last year.

Harris has the size, toughness, and physical build to continue doing just that as a true feature back at the next level. Beyond that, he’s also an excellent athlete that possesses the speed and explosiveness to bust long gains.

For those suggesting Harris should be downgraded for his lack of receiving chops, I give you this.

Harris is really the total package. He has very few flaws, and he dominated for perhaps the best university on the college circuit – against elite competition.

If NFL teams want the guy who gets it done at every level and can carry an offense, they need to put Najee Harris at #1 on their running back draft boards.

Expert Mocks Predict It

The odds seem to help the case for why Najee Harris will be a first-round pick, and you can at least argue that he’s the best running back this year.

But even if you want to ignore the odds and disagree that he’s RB1 in this class, at least consider that the top NFL Draft experts think he’s going in round one.

Here’s a quick look at some of the draft site’s mocks where Harris is listed as a first round pick.

Analyst/Site Pick Team Date
Todd McShay/ESPN 24 Steelers 4-20
CBS Sports 22 Dolphins 4-24
Chad Reuter/NFL 23 Jets 4-23
Charles Davis/NFL 24 Steelers 4-16

ESPN’s Todd McShay is perhaps the most recognizable name on this list, and he has Harris mocked to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 24th overall.

Pittsburgh has a major need in their offensive backfield, and them picking Harris seems to be the worst kept secret in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Fellow ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper Jr. is with McShay in one regard; he believes of all the backs, Harris is the most likely to hear his name called in the first round.

Here’s what he had to say.

“Najee Harris, if you have to mock one, would go to Pittsburgh or Buffalo. These are two teams that need that complete running back.”

The experts are shockingly wrong at an alarming rate when it comes to the draft, just because nobody really knows what will happen until it does.

But the great minds align here, and all of the whispers grow into a loud bellow; Harris feels like a first-round lock.

Several Teams Need a RB

The Steelers are being tied to Najee Harris in mock drafts and social media, and for good reason.

Pittsburgh’s offense was painfully horizontal in 2020, and it was super pass-heavy due to a lack of efficiency on the ground.

James Conner is gone, and the Steelers simply don’t have a true feature back on their roster.

Najee Harris could change that, but NFL Draft bettors need to consider two issues; Pittsburgh could just not make that pick, or maybe they take a different running back, instead.

You need at least a possibility for an alternative path to Najee Harris being a first round pick to feel amazing about the bet.

I’ll answer that concern with a few more teams that need a running back and just might splurge for one in round one:

  • Houston Texans
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins

These are the teams that come to mind when thinking “running back-needy”. Houston has bigger fish to fry these days, but they ranked 31st in rushing yards per game last year, and they really just have spare parts in their backfield these days.

Atlanta moved on from a washed Todd Gurley after finishing 28th on the ground in 2020, Buffalo doesn’t have a true stud rusher, and Miami has a collection of nobodies.

All of these teams should be looking to add a back at some point in the draft, and it’s tough to rule out the possibility one (or more) could reach for a rusher in round one.

In fact, the odds presently favor at least one will be taken.

Will Najee Harris Be a 1st Round Pick?

If you’re reading this post, you probably wanted a little assurance that Najee Harris will be a first round pick. Maybe you’re just a fan of Harris, you root for Alabama, or perhaps you want your team to draft him.

Maybe you want to bet on when Najee Harris will get drafted, too.

Whatever the case, I think everything leads to the Under here. Harris is just too talented and the need is greater than people seem to think, so the Crimson Tide product should be taken within the first 29 picks.

Harris is a masher with underrated versatility, which makes him a true three-down running back with the ability to dominate games.

The Steelers were at their best when they had a strong rushing attack, so I agree they stand out as the most likely team to snag Harris and help him (and willing bettors) convert this bet.

Love to bet on the NFL Draft? Check out some more of our content for this year’s draft below.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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