Southern California Senior
Has a nice first step that is able to get penetration and be disruptive. Does a pretty good job attacking the guard's inside or outside shoulder to win off the snap. An effective speed rusher, especially when working at the 3-technique. Will use the swim move at times to beat guard, or use the spin to disengage. Shows some ability to get off blocks and make stops at the point of attack. Can get his hands inside and hold the point of attack at times, doing a nice job getting leverage up the middle. Shows ability to get low and fire off the ball in short-yardage situations, able to make stops and plays in the redzone. Does a good job consistently getting his hands up to bat passes when he doesn't beat the blocker. Shows some ability to move laterally down the line and make stops in pursuit. Will give chase when the quarterback steps up in the pocket.
Doesn't play with great technique or know how to use his hands. Is not very sudden in his movements and it shows with his initial first step as well as his limited array of pass-rush moves. Will use his shoulder too often rather than his hands to get leverage at the point of attack, causing him to get redirected and washed out of plays. Doesn't really have a power aspect to his game because of his limited hand use. Struggles when working against double teams. Needs to do a better job getting off blocks. Overly relies on his first step to win matchups and beat blocks. Doesn't have ideal range to make plays in pursuit or space, and whiffs on some stops in the backfield. Struggles when asked to line up at the nose tackle position, mainly due to his lack of technique.
Harris is a productive and disruptive player that follows in a long-line of solid interior disruptors at USC. His issue is that he's a fairly one-dimensional one. He does his best work in a 3-technique when he can use his speed and quickness. In that role, he can be a capable pass rusher and disruptive run defender. But the minute you get him out of the comfort zone and move him to the nose or line him up over the guard where his technique, strength, and hands need to be functional, he tends to struggle. He can potentially carve out a nice niche as a rotational guy in a 4-3 scheme. He played some tight end during his freshman year and sat for two seasons by Jurrell Casey before getting his chance to start as a junior.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Minnesota: 2.5 TFLs, 0.5 stuffs, 1 PD
(9/10) vs. Utah: 1 pressure
(10/13) at California: 1 sack, 1 stuff, 1 PD, 1 FR
(11/4) at Colorado: 1 TFL, 1 stuff, 2 pressures, 1 PD; 1 missed tackles
2011: 11 GP/10 GS, 22 tackles, 7.0 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, 0 INTS, 6 PD, 0 FF, 1 FR
- missed 1 game in 2011 with an ankle injury
Harris has some potential to develop as a starter in the pros. But that's not a proposition that will likely develop early in his career. More than likely, he's a guy that can carve out a niche as a rotational reserve early on, and then if he can develop then he can potentially start down the line for some team. Even if he does become a starter, he'll only be a complementary guy that probably won't be a long-term option for anybody. But if he was playing beside a really solid player, he could be a productive starter for a few seasons. The good thing for him is that unlike a lot of guys coming into the league, NFL teams won't have to put in a ton of effort with molding him in the weight room. If a coach can develop his technique and teach him how to use his hands, I think he can be a solid backup in the NFL. For most NFL teams, the ideal goal is for him to be a solid No. 3 guy in the rotation. He'll likely never be a guy that puts up gawdy numbers, and at best is probably a 2-3 sack guy that most of that production comes from coverage sacks. But he can be a decent disruptor that in a 4-3 scheme that will play him mostly as a reserve 3-technique can be capable run defender. He should stick in the pros, but could easily develop into a journeyman type of player that is good enough to make multiple NFL rosters, but never shines enough for anybody to keep him for a year or two.
Harris has similar traits as Vance Walker when he came out of Georgia Tech. And while Walker has developed mainly as a run defender in the pros, that is likely the best avenue for Harris to find success in the pros and in Atlanta as well. He's not quite there yet, but with a few years development and improving his technique, he can add similar value as Walker off the bench. But since the Falcons under Mike Nolan are likely to feature more two-gap principles than the one-gap style that Harris works best in, he's probably not going to become a better player than Walker despite being arguably a better overall prospect. The hope is that two or three years down the line, he can carve out a niche as the third or fourth tackle off the bench. He can add depth, but his upside to develop into much more than that in Atlanta is limited.
Harris can play in the NFL and add value as a reserve in most one-gap schemes. But because he doesn't wow you with his upside, the highest he merits being drafted is the fifth or sixth round.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Point of Attack: 5.0
Pass Rush: 5.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.