Playing in arguably college football's premier program at Alabama, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris is no stranger to expectations.
Whether it be finishing as a Heisman Trophy finalist, winning national championships, and playing well enough to potentially being drafted in the NFL Draft, Harris has indeed shouldered the load of everything expected of him at the collegiate level.
Those expectations now carry into Pittsburgh after the Steelers made Harris their first offensive selection since 2012. Harris, the sixteenth offensive player and first running back taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, now finds himself as part of a grandmaster plan to overhaul the Steelers' rushing attack for the foreseeable future.
Through two days of rookie minicamp, Harris has already shown he's ready to put in the work to become the next great running back in the league.
"He is as highly conditioned as anybody out there and that is a great place to begin," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said to media, captured by AllSteelers' Noah Strackbein.
"I think he has a nice foundation from that perspective. He is a sharp guy. He is a football guy. You can tell he is passionate about football. He can articulate the game very well, so it's a lot to be excited about."
Harris has a long way to go before he's able to be hailed in the lights of the great, despite the well-deserved amount of hype ahead of toting the rock for the black and gold. Harris must first accomplish a great rookie campaign, an easier said than done task for many trying to make the adjustment from college to the pros.
How is Harris expected to perform? BetOnline oddsmakers currently have Harris listed at +1000 odds to win the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Harris currently touts the sixth-highest odds to win the award, sitting behind the following (as of 5/16):
Trevor Lawrence (+350)
Trey Lance (+650)
Justin Fields (+700)
Mac Jones (+750)
Ja'Marr Chase (+800)
Harris shares the same odds as Kyle Pitts and Zach Wilson as well, while fellow rookie running backs Javonte Williams (+1600) and Travis Ettiene (+3300) could also vie for the title as well.
While Harris isn't necessarily the favorite to win the award at the moment, a stellar first season in Pittsburgh could see the former Crimson Tide ball-carrier garner those honors and enter elite company, as the likes of Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara have won the award within the last five minutes.