Alabama running back Najee Harris put together one of his strongest performances of the season in Saturday’s loss to LSU, and his NFL Draft stock is soaring after the weekend.
The 6-foot-2, 229-pounder was the focal point of Alabama’s 2nd half resurgence and he put together a strong performance in the 46-41 loss to the Tigers.
He rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and he added three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Harris drew comparisons to former Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry coming out of high school due to their size, speed and (of course) school selection. His performance Saturday showed shades of Henry, and his NFL Draft stock received a boost in-turn.
His size wasn’t an issue working through congested areas and he displayed impressive footwork maneuvering in tight spaces. All day long Harris displayed impressive agility and balance and was able to make himself skinny to fit through tight interior running lanes.
Harris used his agility to work through the interior, but he was able to make guys miss with his wiggle while packing a powerful punch on contact. He consistently ran his feet through initial contact and wasn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and take on defenders in the open field.
His long speed looked pretty impressive for a player that size, and he was a load to bring down for the Tigers all game.
He also got to show off what he can do as a pass catcher. Harris did have a couple costly drops throughout the game, but he was provided a security blanket for the hobbled Tua Tagovailoa. He had just three catches, but he hauled in an impressive touchdown on a wheel route.
Harris did have some trouble as a blocker and he wasn’t able to consistently shoot his hands and anchor down as a pass protector. There’s room to improve but he’s still very raw in this area.
It took Harris a little time to burst on to the scene as compared to some of the other talented running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft class, but he’s now making a strong case as one of the most intriguing backs in the class.
He has work to do and needs to finish the season strong, but Harris’ blend of size, speed and power could push him into Day 2 consideration come Draft time.