Steelers rookies Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth make highlight plays against Lions

·2-min read

Maybe all the Pittsburgh Steelers offense needed was to hit on two skill-position picks in the draft. 

Running back Najee Harris, the first-round pick who has been getting rave reviews in camp, had an excellent 46-yard catch-and-run in Saturday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions. And tight end Pat Freiermuth, a second-round pick, had a couple of touchdowns. 

Ben Roethlisberger had a nice night on Saturday. It definitely helps when you have a couple rookies making plays. 

Steelers get big plays from rookies

Roethlisberger was 8-of-10 for 137 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. But the story of the night was the rookies making plays for him. 

The Harris pick was debated, because running backs have been devalued and Pittsburgh needs offensive line help. But Harris is clearly a playmaker. 

Freiermuth seemed to be a luxury pick since the Steelers already have tight end Eric Ebron, but the rookie could carve out a role. He had two touchdown grabs. The first was an athletic grab after a great pump fake by Roethlisberger. 

Freiermuth made a nice adjustment for his second touchdown, coming down with a pretty catch in the end zone. 

The Steelers have to be happy to see their rookies making plays like that. 

Najee Harris has been impressive for the Steelers. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Najee Harris has been impressive for the Steelers. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Steelers could be good again

There will be questions about the Steelers, from the offensive line to Roethlisberger's elbow holding up all season after he faded late last season. But it's still a team with a great defense and plenty of playmakers, even without the rookies. 

The two rookie picks could give the offense another boost. The Steelers had no running game last season, and Harris should help. The offense last year became Roethlisberger getting the ball out of his hands quickly, and having a couple more players who can make plays once they have the ball is a plus. 

The Steelers are mostly being written off, and undoubtedly there is a lot to prove. But maybe a good draft class will help. 

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