Najee Harris: Miami Dolphins NFL Draft Targets

At some point in the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins are going to upgrade their running game. That much basically written in stone as the team clearly wants an upgrade on Myles Gaskin. Gaskin is a fine runner and definitely belongs in the NFL, but he’s not the ideal three-down back. One player who might be is Alabama’s Najee Harris, but is he worth a first-round investment for the Miami Dolphins?

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Should the Miami Dolphins Draft Najee Harris?

Since the start of 2020, Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins have been trying to upgrade their running back room. Jordan Howard and Matt Breida didn’t cut it, while Aaron Jones ultimately decided to re-sign with the Green Bay Packers. This leaves Gaskin as the de-facto leader of the backfield, but Miami clearly isn’t all that comfortable with that reality.

Miami seems to prefer using one workhorse back, and Harris has the ability to serve that role. He certainly has the necessary build at 6’-2” and 230 pounds, and his fantastic collegiate production proves that he knows how to use his elite traits. He’s more than just a one-year fluke, as Harris proved he was a legitimate running back in the 2019 season – with Tua Tagovailoa running the offense.

Tagovailoa had a rough rookie season, but it’s too early for Miami to give up on the former fifth-overall pick. The top priority of the offseason should be making him feel more comfortable, and they a good job of that in free agency. DeVante Parker is still a solid receiver, and Will Fuller has the speed to take the top off of the defense. Adding Harris, however, will give Tagovailoa a safe checkdown option along with some familiarity from their Alabama years.

Why the Dolphins Shouldn’t Take Najee Harris

Based on current NFL mocks, Harris is expected to go off the board sometime in the mid to late first round, with some analysts expecting him to fall into the early second round. This means that Miami will either need to reach for him at 18, trade back and select him in the late first, or roll the dice and hope he makes it to 36.

Drafting Harris at 18 would be a mistake, as running backs – no matter how good – just don’t move the needle enough to justify such an early selection. Rushing production is heavily influenced by blocking and play-calling, and the actual person carrying the ball really doesn’t have much to do with team success. Harris is an above-average pass-catching running back, but that’s not enough to justify a pick at 18.

Miami’s best option is to wait and see who is around at pick 36. This is still earlier than you’d normally want to take a running back, but Miami has the ability to make a luxury pick. Thanks to an absurd amount of trades, the Dolphins have an abundance of picks in the coming years. If they REALLY view running back as a need, they can wait to see if Harris falls to 36. If he doesn’t, the Dolphins can still probably get either Travis Etienne or Javonte Williams, and both players are more than capable of solving the running back issue.

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