Shows good speed and burst in pursuit, and can be hard to beat to the edge. Is able to step up and fill vs. the inside run. Can get off blocks and make the stop at the point of attack. Willing to meet the lead blocker, whether fullback or lineman in the hole. Comfortable putting his hand in the dirt and rushing off the edge. Has a nice first step and flashes potential as a bull rusher off the corner. Does a nice job getting upfield as an interior blitzer as well. Is a solid tackler, that breaks down, wraps up and drives through ballcarrier, delivering a nice hit.
Gets caught in traffic at times at the point of attack and can get swarmed under by the inside run. Can get overaggressive and get caught out of position at times vs. the run. Doesn't always take great angles in pursuit and can get beat to the corner because of it. Doesn't do much in coverage and rarely asked to drop in coverage. Not fluid and natural moving in space when he does.
Harvey has a good combination of size and speed and is a capable pass rusher that does his best work around and behind the line of scrimmage. But he's limited in coverage and thus will need to play in a system that can hide his flaws. A three-year starter for Marshall, he was their leading tackler in each season. He combined for 367 tackles, 33 for loss, 20 sacks, 1 interception, 8 pass breakups, 5 forced fumbles, and 3 recoveries in that three-year span. He played at Hargrave Military before coming to Marshall.
If he was 6-2, then he would be a very good fit as a pass rushing OLB in a 3-4 scheme. The 3-4 is probably going to be his best scheme because of his pass rushing ability. And playing inside is the position he's used to. But I wouldn't be completely opposed to playing him outside. James Harrison is only 6-feet tall, so it's not unheard of for 3-4 OLBs to be short and effective. He has good speed and ability to make plays vs. the run and as a pass rusher. But the biggest concern is coverage. He has the speed and range to be effective there, but he doesn't seem as natural and instinctual when he's playing on his heels. He's a guy that is good when he can attack the ball, as what I call a run and hit defender. But I'm not sure he's super-instinctual. But I think ultimately he can work as a 3-4 inside linebacker because of his speed, physicality, and pass rush ability. I think give him a few years to work out the kinks in coverage, and he'll be fine. And as long as he's playing in a scheme that will give him opportunities as a pass rusher he's going to be OK in the long run. In a 4-3 scheme, he can be decent there as well, although he's shorter than you like as an outside linebacker. But the value for him is that he can play on the outside and on passing downs he can put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer rather than asking him to drop off into coverage. So a 4-3 scheme might hide his flaws even better. But ultimately, I think Harvey can be a good playmaking linebacker, just not a guy that is super instinctual. With veterans and talent around him, that shouldn't be a huge obstacle to get around.
Harvey could work in Atlanta because he has the pass rush potential that the team wants at the SAM linebacker spot. Like Nicholas, he is not going to be great in coverage. But you like his speed and potential in pursuit and space more than Nicholas. But playing him near the line of scrimmage will help him. He's not the best candidate to come in and start right away for the Falcons, but I think with a year under his belt, he should be ready to handle a starting OLB position in the Falcons scheme and be effective if the Falcons can maximize his speed/range and pass rush ability. But it might take him another year or two before he can really grow into his role and start to make more plays than he gives up. But he gives the Falcons a third fast and physical thumping linebacker.
For a 3-4 team, Harvey is a nice fit in the third round. A 4-3 team might want to wait until the fourth because it could take a bit longer for him to develop.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 3.5
Pass Rush: 4.0
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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