Best Scheme Fit: Man-blocking
and/or inside zone running scheme. While he showed some ability
to hit the edge and has the vision/decisiveness necessary to run
outside zone in college, he likely doesn't have enough speed to
be overly effective at it in the NFL. He has more than enough
power to run in between the tackles, however.
Good vision allows him to be a decisive runner capable of
cutting back at a moment's notice. (0:35,
0:59, 1:51, 1:57, 2:24, 2:43)
Physical inside runner who will press the hole, keeps his
balance long enough to defeat most arm tackles and strong enough
in the lower body to push the pile/drag tacklers. (0:55,
1:00, 1:39, 1:51, 3:31)
Although average from an NFL standpoint, he displays a bit
more elusiveness and explosion than he is given credit for.
(0:59, 1:47, 1:51, 1:58, 3:44)
Effective option in passing game on check-downs and swing
passes; doesn't fight the ball and turns up the field quickly.
(0:21, 0:22, 1:47, 1:58, 2:04)
Well-managed college workload (528 career offensive touches
over four years with no more than 172 in any season).
Identifies his man on the blitz and squares him up. (1:16, 1:47, 2:56)
Has a low-end second gear - appeared faster in 2017 - but
needs a runway to get rolling; struggles to reaccelerate if
he needs to stop and restart. (2:24, 3:13)
Elusive enough to make the first man miss, but tightness
in hips and a bit of a lack of bend in his lower half doesn't
allow him to set up the next defender. (1:07, 2:09)
Not an overly creative runner and unlikely to make something
out of nothing if he is contacted in the backfield. (1:28, 2:59, 3:41)
Was not utilized down the field as a receiver was in college
and probably not quick enough (or sophisticated enough with
his route-running, at least not yet) to be used as a mismatch
weapon out of the backfield in the passing game.
Loses his feet a bit more often than someone with his straight-ahead
style should. (0:00, 3:12,
Could have picked up the blitzer sooner and can get a bit
lax at times in this area, seemingly satisfied with standing
his defender up. (3:41, 5:06, 5:13
Harris' running style is timeless in that it would play 20 years
ago, it will play now and probably will play 20 years from now.
He's going to get his offense every yard that is blocked - if
not a few more - and he won't often do something to get his team
off-schedule. Like backfield partner Josh Jacobs, Harris' 22 catches
in 2018 don't really tell the story on how dependable he was as
a receiver out of the backfield, although quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa
and Jalen Hurts never seemed to give him much of a chance to beat
his defender - or stick with him very long on the progression
- on the rare occasion Alabama sent him on a route down the field.
With that said, he didn't exactly create much separation on the
few such instances I saw on film.
Some fans will probably want to replace Harris within a couple
of years because he isn't flashy enough, yet he will be hard to
bump out of the lineup because he just does his job - likely making
him a bit of a coach's pet. Given his likely draft position and
inside running ability, it is extremely likely Harris will earn
his new team's role as the short-yardage/goal-line hammer. He
also should be considered the favorite to land early-down and
four-minute duties. It is amazing how many times Harris has one
defender on him after two yards, two defenders on him after four
yards and three shortly after that, making what seems like a third
of his runs look like rugby scrums. He's a back that can and probably
wear out defenses at the end of games if given the chance.
The bigger question is what he will provide his new employer beyond
that. There are several parts of his game that are considered
average by NFL standards nowadays, namely his ability to create
a big play in the running game and potential contribution in the
passing game beyond serving as an outlet. Power will always have
a place in football, but it would have been nice to see the breakaway
speed he displayed as a junior (here
more often as a senior. If he can show that side of himself more
often, he could carve himself out a nice career like Ingram has.
If not, he might have to settle for being the power half of a
committee backfield. The former version is worth a look in the
second round, while the latter version probably should come off
the board in the third. Harris should have staying power in the
league either way, but the first version would obviously allow
him to push for 200-plus touches on a more regular basis.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.