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Najee Harris plays well in preseason debut

Najee Harris shows signs of his fantasy football value in first preseason game.

Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during training camp at Heinz Field on July 28, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The numbers won’t blow you away, but Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris looked good in his first live action in the NFL. Harris got the start and the idea that Harris is going to be an every down back came to fruition as he played every snap in the first three drives, which of course included passing downs.

Harris ran the ball seven times for 22 yards for just 3.1 yards per carry, but six of those seven carries were strong runs while one was blown up by the defense, as they got to him behind the line before he could get going. But we saw him use his speed to get to the outside for a first down and more than once he took on tacklers and moved them backwards for extra yards.

Harris only saw one target and caught it for a three yard gain, but in reality we didn’t get to see much from his as a receiver. The fact that he got the target and was in on every down is a good enough sign for his future receiving usage for now.

With a 17-game season coming for the first time ever, Harris is likely to see a huge workload this year. The biggest worry will be if he can stay healthy all season with that kind of usage. The Steelers will need Benny Snell and someone like Kalen Ballage, who looked good scoring a touchdown in this first preseason game, to take on some of those between the tackle runs and find some success.