Finding Broncos: Najee Harris | RB | Alabama

Finding Broncos scouts the 2021 NFL draft class to find the best Mile High fits. What's the scoop on Najee Harris and how would he fit in Denver?
Author:
Publish date:

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

Measurables

  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 230 pounds

Stats

Snip

Pros

  • 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

What happens next on the Broncos? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!

Cons

  • 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.

Overview

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.

Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!