Much has been said about Najee Harris’ subpar yards-per-carry mark in 2021.
But it wasn’t without trying.
Advanced stats show the rookie RB led the league in “broken tackles” last season, when factoring rushes and receptions combined.
As a receiver, in fact, the 17 broken tackles that Harris forced were the highest total among all NFL players from (2018-2021).
A fellow running back, Alvin Kamara, was second on that list with 16 broken tackles the year prior in 2020.
Harris broke 30 tackles as a rusher, behind only fellow rookie Javonte Williams, who has 31 broken tackles in just 203 carries.
Harris broke a tackle once every 10 carries for the Steelers.
Given the pressure he was often facing in the backfield last season as a ball carrier, that is impressive. He averaged just 1.7 yards per carry before contact in 2021.
Per Pro Football Reference advanced stats, that ranked him 40th of 43 qualified backs – a statistic that is usually a bigger indication of line play than a red flag for ball carriers.
The league average was 2.2 yards before contact.