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Todd McShay Has Serious Praise For Najee Harris At Senior Bowl

Najee Harris runs past a Notre Dame defender.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 01: Running back Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the football against cornerback Clarence Lewis #26 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the the first quarter of the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One at AT&T Stadium on January 01, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Najee Harris didn't have much to prove at the Senior Bowl this week. That didn't mean that the Alabama running back wasn't going to compete.

He's not playing at today's game, at the advice of his agent Doug Hendrickson. Earlier this week, he resisted similar advice, when it came time to go through drills for the NFL teams watching.

Earlier in the week, he took part in drills against the wishes of his agent, saying that he couldn't be at the Senior Bowl and "not compete." Harris was reportedly nursing an ankle injury after the national championship, and he's expected to be one of the top running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft anyway, but he wanted to make an effort anyway. If anything, that probably impressed NFL teams more.

"The fact that he’s even here in pads tells you everything you need to know about Harris," ESPN's Todd McShay said on a recent episode of the network's First Draft podcast. "I’ve said it before. His ankle was a grapefruit coming off of that national championship game. [Senior Bowl executive director] Jim Nagy had to basically tell him, 'Listen there is no pressure. You don’t have to play. Just show up and interview and do whatever you want.' And he’s like, ‘No, no, you’re not talking to my agent right now. You’re talking to me. And I’m telling you that I’m going to show up and I’m going to do everything that I physically can do.’"

McShay says that Najee Harris' dedication to competing is part of the reason why he believes the Alabama standout will be the top running back off the board in April, ahead of Clemson's Travis Etienne, though he believes both could be first-round picks.

Harris' season may have been a bit overshadowed by Alabama's incredible passing game, led by quarterback Mac Jones and Heisman winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith—two other likely first rounders—but he had an unbelievable final collegiate season.

He ran for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns, adding 425 yards and four scores through the air. For his efforts, he finished fifth in Heisman voting, one of three Alabama players in the top five. He has the look of an NFL bell cow back, and should make one fan base very happy in a few months.

[ESPN via 247Sports]