Welcome to Finding Broncos, our annual prospect-by-prospect series deep-diving on the coming NFL draft class. The scouting continues with Alabama running back Najee Harris, a player the Denver Broncos have been rumored to like.
- Height: 6-foot-2
- Weight: 230 pounds
- Solid quickness and great versatility for a bigger back
- Showed growth in multiple areas from 2019-20, especially with his reads and getting extra yards
- Brings it as a receiver and as a blocker to add that third-down value
- Stopped always looking to bang with defenders as a runner and started doing better at finding the open running lanes
- No concern with ball security as he rarely puts it on the ground
- Reliable to pick up four yards per carry
- Doesn’t shy away from contact but does well at protecting himself and not always taking unnecessary hits
- Can be the bell-cow back for a team
- Has never suffered a major injury to create concern
- Footwork is excellent and he does a good job keeping his legs churning
- Between the tackles, he keeps a really good balance and can be the pinball runner bouncing off contact
- Isn’t limited to a between-the-tackles runner and can take it outside as well
- Isn’t the most explosive of runners, lacks extra gears to consistently break off big runs
- Benefitted from one of the best run-blocking O-lines in the NFL
- Can he create for himself?
- Running style is very upright, leaving legs exposed, which can be dangerous for bigger RBs in the NFL
- Has some elusiveness to his game but it isn’t his forte
- Running discipline will need work for the NFL
- Was able to get away with early cuts and not following the play-path quite a bit at Alabama but it will be punished more in the NFL.
Harris' upright running style needs to be fixed. He needs to be coached to run with a lower center of gravity, which would help protect himself (especially his legs) a little more. His versatility to be a receiver out of the backfield, be a pass-blocker, and be a bell-cow back really raises his value for NFL teams.
Fit with Broncos
If you want a tone-setter running back for a smash-you-in-the-mouth physical running game, Harris is your guy. That isn’t all he can do, though, which gives teams a chance to catch defenses off-guard by changing it up without changing the running back.
Grade: Round 1
Where he Goes: Round 2
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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