Running back Najee Harris continues to show why the Steelers drafted him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and his efforts haven't gone unnoticed league wide.
On Thursday, Harris was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October for his efforts, which included four games from Week 4-8.
During the four-game stretch Harris had 88 carries for 356 yards, a four-yard average, and three touchdowns. He also added 17 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. He scored one touchdown in every game during the month. His 356 rushing yards during the month ranked fifth overall in the NFL and his 480 scrimmage yards ranked eighth. He also led all rookies in total touchdowns, rushing yards and rushing touchdown (tied) in October.
"He's getting better every week, but I think that's a reasonable expectation," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We're talking about a guy who has some talent, but who is getting acclimated to the professional game. The learning experience is what it is. He's a sharp guy and he's learning quickly. So, it's reasonable to expect him to continue to put together increasingly better performances, particularly in the short term."
Harris kicked off the month against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4 with 15 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown, and six receptions for 29 yards.
He came back the following week with his first 100-yard rushing performance, carrying the ball 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown in a Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field. Harris also had two receptions for 20 yards.
Against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, Harris had 24 carries for 81 yards, and added six receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.
"He has been consistent. He's a really competitive football player," said Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll. "They have gone to him so much, they are running the ball a bunch already, he's caught a bunch of passes. That's their running game and they are really committed to him which was a great pick for them to do that. He is real creative and really aggressive. He's bigger than most guys, he's over 230. He runs through people, makes them miss, and makes them bounce off. He's a really effective football player and is a really good player."
He wrapped up the month with a strong performance in a win over the Cleveland Browns in a key AFC North matchup. Harris had 26 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown and added three receptions for 29 yards.
"He wants to do more than just be a great runner," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "Being a running back is about more than just being a good runner. Pass pro, even down the field. I think on one of the reverses as well, he got in the way and created a block. I think he takes pride in wanting to be great, and we're seeing a lot of growth."