When you’re a first-round talent in an upcoming draft, you’re bound to get some comparisons to former and current NFL players — whether you like it or not.
Hearing all the different comparisons he’s gotten so far, former Alabama running back Najee Harris has refused to accept any of them. It’s not for a lack of respect towards these NFL stars — the projected top RB just wants to be considered his own, unique player.
Joining draft experts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks on NFL Network, Harris opened up about his pro similarities. While he respects the game of running backs like Matt Forte and Derrick Henry, the Crimson Tide standout shot down the comparisons.
“Matt Forte is a legend for sure, but I don’t see me as Matt Forte,” Harris said. “I’ve heard all types of things. I’ve heard Derrick Henry, of course. I don’t know why. Me, personally? Yeah, if I could compare myself to somebody, it’s me. I don’t get it. Like, I understand it’s peoples’ jobs to do the comparison and things like that. But, I mean, there is no comparison. Not to be — you can say what anybody want, but I’m my own person. I bring my own game to the thing. I mean, like, we live in a society where everybody loves to do comparisons. I mean, one person I love watching always was Adrian Peterson. I mean, that’s one guy I love.”
Last month, ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky became one of the first to compare Harris with Forte — saying he had the unique combination of power and quickness possessed by the retired Pro Bowl running back.
“He reminds me a lot of Matt Forte,” Orlovsky said. “First of all, I think that they both run with grace yet power, but also the second-level vision that they have. It’s like that spidey sense where they see the flow of the defense, and then they have the ability to cut back. And then their past catching ability; this isn’t just guys that are you know we could check it down to them, but we could use them as weapons throwing them the football. So I love them both with similar running styles, but also the reality of how good they are in a first, second and third down pass-catching threat.”
In an outstanding national championship season with Bama in 2020, Harris logged a staggering 1,891 yards and 30 touchdowns from scrimmage. This solid play earned him a spot as one of the three Crimson Tide players to finish in the top five of Heisman Trophy voting.
Lumped in with names like Clemson’s Travis Etienne and North Carolina’s Javonte Williams, Harris is expected to be one of the first runnings backs off the board come Apr. 29.