Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Prospect Primer: RB Najee Harris

The oversized Bama back could very well be the first running back off the board and could be taken long before the Buccaneers have a shot at him. Right?

harris

Name: Najee Harris

Position: RB

School: Alabama

Height: 6-2

Weight: 230

NFL Grade: 6.46 (boom or bust prospect)

Stats: Despite the fact that the 6-2 running back was one of the nation's top prospects at the position after his junior season with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Harris elected to return for his senior year and was rewarded in the record books for his efforts. He is now the Tide's all-time leader for total touchdowns in a career with 57 (46 rushing, 11 receiving) and the former number puts him at the top of the list for career scores on the ground, surpassing Mark Ingram and 2020 NFL Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Henry's previous record of 42.

Harris totaled 3,843 career rushing yards, again placing him at the top of Alabama's all-time list and tallied 4,624 all-purpose yards, which ranks as a measly second in Alabama annals. His 6.0 yards per carry career average ranks third and his 342 points are fourth all-time.

His senior season, Harris ran for 1,466 yards, scoring 26 touchdowns on the ground and adding 425 yards and another four touchdowns receiving. He won the Doak Walker Award for the nation's best running back in 2020, while also being named a consensus All-American. His best game came against Ole Miss, absolutely torching the Rebels for 206 yards on 23 attempts and a whopping five rushing touchdowns. Against Ohio State in the National Championship, he had 22 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Comments: Though his description sounds like it's coming off a clothing website, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein rightly points out Harris' size first. His 6-2, 230-pound frame is bound to raise some eyebrows, especially after witnessing what fellow Tide alum Derrick Henry has been able to accomplish at the NFL level. Harris has a rare combination of that size along with speed and 'elusiveness' as Zierlein puts it, which is no easy task when you tower over even coverage linebackers.

"Plus-sized runner who elevated his game and draft stock with a well-rounded performance in 2020," writes Zierlein. "Harris showed improved short-area creativity and elusiveness to go with his trademark physicality. Creates additional yardage with both wiggle and power, but he lacks desired top gear to change games in a flash. He handled a heavier lift in 2020, with almost 300 total touches in 13 games. Harris' value as a third-down option out of the backfield and as a personal protector should not be underestimated after his performance in his senior year. His running style could shorten his career, but he's a tough, three-down runner who can immediately upgrade a running game."

Harris upped his receiving totals in his senior season and in his last two years at Alabama had over 700 yards through the air and 11 touchdowns. That bodes well for what the Buccaneers are looking for in their next running back, needing a more natural receiving back to add to their arsenal. The question of exactly where Harris will go remains, though. It's hard to think he lasts until the 32nd pick but then again, running backs don't typically go high and the fact that Harris has played more snaps than most due to his returning for a fourth season in Tuscaloosa could end up creating some hesitation for teams. Or not. His production, skill set and size is all very hard to ignore.

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