Nic Harris, OLB/SS, Oklahoma

Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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Nic Harris, OLB/SS, Oklahoma

Postby Pudge » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:39 am

Nic Harris
6-3/234 Oklahoma
4.83 Senior

Pros: Is a solid run stopper that rarely misses a tackle in the open field. Breaks down well in space and delivers pop. Does a nice job hitting receivers over the middle. At home working in the box and does a good job weaving through traffic to make the stop. Shows nice ball skills and does a nice job reading the QB and breaking on the ball when working in zone. Does a good job keeping things in front of him.

Cons: Lacks awareness in zone coverage and has trouble when working with deep responsibilities. Caught out of position too often. Gets turned around and really loses all his ball skills and burst when he turns his back to the QB in man coverage. Has poor hips. One of the dirtiest players I've seen and horse collars often.

Overview: He's a super-aggressive safety that is at home vs. the run, but struggles and can be exposed vs. the pass. A tweener as a safety and linebacker and is a very similar player to ex-Sooner Roy Williams. He was listed at 225 and it appears he has bulked up since the end of the year in an effort to make a transition to linebacker. He did play one game at MLB for Sooners because of injuries last year and had 5 tackles.

NFL Forecast: Harris flashes potential in coverage, with nice ball skills. He can read college QBs, but I'm not sure he'll be as successful against pro guys. Like Williams, I think he'll struggle and give up a lot of big plays in coverage. He could be serviceable, but he's probably too aggressive for his own good. You're safer moving him to linebacker. Bulk him up a little more, but he's very comfortable already working in the box. And his ball skills and quickness will be much more effective working the short zones at linebacker than the deep ones at safety. He'll never be a great run stopper, but is a solid tackler and I think will be better at the point of attack than most tweeners like him. As far as his dirtiness goes, it can certainly be a negative, but I'm sure there is an NFL coach out there that can harness it into a strength, much like what has been done with Rodney Harrison in New England. He seems oblivious to the horse collars (like Williams), which is concerning, but if he moves to linebacker he shouldn't be in a position to have to do that as much. I think Harris can be a solid weakside linebacker, particularly in a Cover-2 with the ability to start. He won't be a top playmaker there, but should be active and willing to mix it up. And will be a nice component on a defense that prides itself on being physical.

ATL Forecast: Harris is probably not a good option to replace Milloy at strong safety, but instead would be a nice developmental prospect at outside linebacker. He could sit for a few years behind either Peterson or Nicholas at weakside linebacker, getting comfortable playing in the box and taking on blockers. And in time could be a capable starter. He's a project, but the payoff is nice particularly if he's playing beside at least one other solid linebacker. Not a going to be a key component for the Falcons defense going forward, but can be a productive starter.

Value: At best, Harris is a late fourth round pick because of his tweener status, although I'd probably target him in the fifth round.
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