It’s probably safe to say that most Pittsburgh Steelers fans approve of the selection of Alabama running back Najee Harris in the first-round of the 2021 Draft. Yet their enthusiasm probably pales in comparison to how excited Steelers players are about the team getting Harris. In the immediate aftermath of the pick, Harris’ new teammates took to social media to welcome him to the team, led by the existing Alabama Crimson Tide contingent, namely safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs.
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick took care to remind everyone that he encouraged the front office to select Harris earlier in the offseason.
Clearly, players on both offense and defense were excited that Harris is onboard, with everyone from tight end Eric Ebron, wide receiver Diontae Johnson and offensive tackle Zach Banner tweeting out their approval.
As for the team’s key defenders, Cameron Heyward looks forward to the Steelers having a better running game:
While fellow defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt said he’s looking forward to going against the rookie in training camp.
Ex-Steelers Players Equally Pumped
Former Steelers players were just as excited about the pick, with Mike Wallace calling Najee Harris the “perfect pick” for the organization.
Meanwhile, former Steelers running backs Willie Parker and Hall of Famer Franco Harris tweeted out ‘Welcome to Pittsburgh’ messages.
For his part, Harris will be in Cleveland today (Friday) to announce one of Pittsburgh’s Day 2 selections.
Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey Reacts to the Steelers Drafting Harris
It’s also worth noting that there were NFL players—past and present—rooting for and against the Steelers selecting Harris with the No. 24 overall pick.
Ex-Steelers wide receiver Nate Washington was in the camp of the former, tweeting:
But Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey—who was in attendance at Najee Harris’ draft party—was really hoping that Harris would get picked before the Steelers had a chance to select him, as he’s not looking forward to trying to tackle Najee in two games every year.
Humphrey—who also played for the Alabama Crimson Tide—went on to express his appreciation for the quality of the running backs in the AFC North as a whole, a group that features Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon (who Harris competed against in high school) and Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns.
Of course, Harris won’t have anywhere near the offensive line talent enjoyed by Nick Chubb and Ravens’ running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, which is a big part of the reason the Steelers finished last in the NFL in rushing in 2020.
Steelers to Address the Center Position on Friday?
That’s why Pittsburgh figures to address the offensive line on Day 2 of the draft, with the team likely to target a center in the second round. Earlier this week, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert noted that the class of centers is “unusually deep” this year. Names to keep in mind on Friday include Landon Dickerson (Alabama), Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma) and Quinn Meinerz (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater), the latter of whom got an opportunity to shine at the Senior Bowl because Dickerson tore his ACL in the 2020 SEC Championship Game.
Also, Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm was one of at least four NFL offensive line coaches who attended Meinerz’s Pro Day in early March.
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