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Damien Harris 2019 NFL Draft Profile

The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Alabama running back saw success in college and is now competing to be one of the first running backs taken come April.

Background

Position: Running Back

Class: Senior

2018 stats: 150 carries, 876 rushing yards, nine touchdowns, 22 catches, 204 receiving yards

Size: 5-foot-10, 216 pounds

Harris was in a stable of running backs at Alabama that had to split time, but he was still able to make a name for himself. Working with other running backs likely kept Harris fresh and he leveraged that into becoming a solid running back in the 2019 NFL Draft class.

He got his feet wet as a freshman with 46 carries for 157 yards and one touchdown. After that, he exploded on to the scene with two straight 1,000 yard seasons, which is impressive given he was splitting time with several NFL-caliber running backs. His senior season he rushed for 876 yards and nine touchdowns. Alabama had a record of 55-4 in Harris’ four seasons, winning two National Championships along the way.

Even though former teammate Josh Jacobs has passed Harris on a lot of draft boards, Harris is still a quality running back prospect. He should expect to go at some point after the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Strengths

Harris has good vision and trusts what he sees. Most of the time he will make a good read and will hit the hole to get upfield. With his vision, he also has the patience to allow holes to open up. This doesn’t always generate big gains, but Harris will consistently pick up decent yardage because he knows where to run the football.

Many college football defenders have learned the hard way that Harris has solid power. He runs right through arm tackles and keeps his legs moving at all time, making him even harder to bring down. Harris is a good short yardage back because of his strength and ability to fight through contact.

It takes a while for him to get going, but Harris has good speed once he has a few steps of momentum. It isn’t breakaway speed, but his speed should allow him to have some big gains after he chooses the correct hole to run through.

Weaknesses

While his speed is solid, his acceleration is not. It takes a lot of time for Harris to get up to anything close to his top speed. This allows him to be patient in the backfield, because he simply doesn’t cover as much ground as other running backs, but when defensive linemen close down holes quickly, they can still make the play.

Harris also doesn’t have great change of direction. He does have a good one-step cut move, but he is not a candidate to stop on a dime and go in a complete different direction. This limits his ability to extend plays in the open field.

His pass protection could be improved as well. He will always try to hit the man coming towards the quarterback, but a lot of times he will either throw himself at their feet or just lean into them. That can work for a short period of time, but he needs to stand in there with good form to really hold off a pas rusher.

Projected Draft Range: Second round-Fourth round

 

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