Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris had an impressive rookie season in 2021, rushing for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 74 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns.

If Sports Illustrated’s recent prediction for Harris is accurate, then the 2021 season was only the beginning of the young running back’s dominance.

SI made 100 bold predictions this week for the 2022 NFL season and they think Harris will lead the league in rushing yards.

From SI:

The Steelers’ first-round pick from 2020 had a solid rookie campaign considering Pittsburgh’s punchless offense. With Kenny Pickett operating an equally conservative but more movement-oriented offense, Harris will benefit.

Steelers
Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Harris finished No. 4 in the NFL in rushing yards in 2021.

Not far from the top, right?

The only problem is that Harris was 611 yards behind the league leader in rushing yards, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.

That’s quite a gap to close.

And while Sports Illustrated mentioned the presence of rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett as a reason that Harris could lead the league in yards, I’m not sure that’s going to work in his favor like they think.

If Pickett wins the job, opposing defenses will likely key in on stopping Harris — the best player on the offensive side of the ball for the Steelers.

I think Harris is one of the best offensive players in the NFL. And I think his potential is limitless. But I’m not sure the situation is going to allow him to lead the league in rushing yards.

Of course, it ultimately doesn’t matter — the Colts didn’t make the playoffs last year despite having the NFL’s leading rusher.

The Steelers have their eyes on winning the AFC North. And I’m sure Harris does, too. Whether or not he leads the league in rushing yards won’t determine if Pittsburgh reaches the post-season.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports