Could the Buccaneers trade up in the NFL Draft for Najee Harris

Najee Harris, Dolphins, NFL Draft, NFL, Buccaneers
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just won the Super Bowl a few weeks ago, but they won’t have much more time to rest on their laurels. Before they know it, the new NFL year will begin and it will be back to work to try and win the title again in 2022. One thing the Buccaneers could look to do this offseason is find a long-term running back, and Alabama star Najee Harris would be a perfect fit in the 2021 NFL Draft.

As currently constructed, the Buccaneers look like they will be one of the favorites again next season for the Super Bowl. They have some work to do, as the team has multiple key free agents. Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette are all free agents on offense. Defensively, LaVonte David, Shaq Barrett, and Ndamukong Suh are hitting the market.

Despite the number of free agents they have, general manager Jason Licht believes the financial capital is available to bring the group back for another run. However, some of them could choose to walk for bigger paydays. One of the players to keep an eye on in that regard is Fournette.

“We’ll see,” Fournette said. “Right now, I’m just enjoying the process right now with this W with this organization and my team. You never know what the future holds for me right now. … I’d love to be back. We’ll have to talk to my agent and see what they’re talking about.”

Fournette was almost cut earlier in the season by the Buccaneers because he was griping about his playing time behind Ronald Jones. Things worked themselves out, as Fournette was great for the team during the postseason. But if he leaves in free agency, another person would have to be added to the running back group. How about Alabama star running back Najee Harris?

While the running back position has been devalued in recent years, the Buccaneers would find great value in trading up so they can select Harris in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The hypothetical trade proposed would involve the Tennessee Titans and has Tampa Bay moving up from No. 32 to No. 22, sending the No. 96 and 128 picks to Tennessee as well.

An already explosive offense would reach video game numbers with a running back such as Harris in the mix. He was dominant at Alabama, rushing for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns this season alone. His improvements as a pass catcher are what will really appeal to NFL teams, as he could be a true three-down back at the next level. In his last two seasons, Harris caught 70 passes for 729 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Harris would slip seamlessly into the void potentially left by Fournette, even elevating the offense as he is a better pass catcher. The Buccaneers did use a third-round pick on running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn in 2020, but the opportunity to add Harris to the mix could be too good to pass up.