Coming out of Missouri, Harris (6 feet-3, 253 pounds) was expected to be a 3 to 4 player, and had the right range to put him in the dirt in the 4-3 chart. It was formulated before Miami Dolphin They were asked to play a finale in the front of four men. After three seasons, he produced only three bags and was traded with Atlanta Falcons To choose the seventh round.
In Atlanta, Harris played almost exclusively on the edge but lined up with his hand in the dirt and fondled as standing passes. The Falcons used it mainly as a depth player who could give novice players in multiple edge locations comfort. He played nearly 27 percent of the Hawks’ defensive shots.
Harris is a player outside the attack zone and is best served when the hijacker begins with a distance between him and the offensive barrier. He has a nice first move and lateral speed, but his calling card has always been his spinning motion. Unfortunately, after turning, Harris still needs to define his swipe style.
Harris was ineffective when obsessed with offensive tackle, which is part of the reason he fought in the NFL, because he often lines up close to the offensive line man. At Atlanta last season, they still used it in the traditional edge role, but they also used it in a 9-wide pose, which gave him more time to use his sport to avoid blocks and carry out missions. He only scored three bags in 2020, but that doubled his career output since his time in Miami.
In Detroit, I would expect the Lions to keep him out of the zone of intervention and allow him space to lash out with bitterness in situations that best suit his skills. By keeping him outside, lions can also use Harris to hide their intentions. He’s not a player you want to put in a one-on-one with an offensive player, but he is able to drop into an area and use his lateral velocity to cover the ground.
Here’s an example of Harris lining up at the right defensive end at wide angle 9, covering, then playing. He recognizes the midfielder (Taysom Hill) as he flees the pocket and attacks the ball to score a sack.
It doesn’t matter if he’s playing with his hand in the dirt or from a standing position, he still has the range to complete the landing without a problem.
Harris isn’t going to start, and he might not even be into the profound maneuvering of opening the camp – he’ll be competing with Romeo Okwara, Julian Okwara, and Austin Bryant for the shots – but he’s a decent insurance policy on the edge of the abyss, and a potential lottery ticket if developed properly.
It’s not uncommon for Edge racers to take time to develop – hey, Romeo Okwara – and it’s very likely that Lions try to see if they can unlock the level of play that originally made him pick him up to 22nd overall.