Photo of Darien Harris
Grade
5.1 ?

Draft Analysis:

  • 6'0" Height
  • 220LBS. Weight

Overview

The son of a former Virginia Tech running back, Harris decided to take his talents to the other side of the ball. After two years as a special teams ace, head coach Mark D'Antonio plugged Harris in at the Star linebacker spot in 2014 (48 tackles, 3.5 for loss, interception, two forced fumbles). Harris returned there in a third team All-Big Ten senior year (coaches, honorable mention by media), overcoming a lack of bulk with quickness and tenacious hitting. He racked up 90 tackles, nine for loss, and three pass deflections as a senior, finishing strong with 17 stops, 3.5 for loss, between the Big Ten Championship Game win over Iowa and the loss to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.

Analysis

Strengths

Plays with good football intelligence and plus instincts. Diagnoses play quickly and races to get to his spot. Good play speed and is willing to take shots downhill into the gaps from the backside. Used in man coverage and has some basic cover skills. Has good downhill quickness and gets his body into the fray. Shows ability to anticipate play direction and play type.

Weaknesses

Small and skinny for even a weak-side linebacker spot. Has very little play strength and needs a posse to come help tackle at times. Has to work too hard to disengage from blocking wide receivers. Downhill charge gets stopped dead in its tracks if he doesn’t find a gap. Change of direction is just average for a smaller, athletic player.

Draft Projection

Round 7 or priority free agent

Bottom Line

Undersized WILL linebacker who can run and chase around the field and who has plus football intelligence and instincts. Harris has just one year of impressive tackle production, but he doesn’t have thump behind his pads and his play strength is below the NFL minimum. Harris may need to try and bulk up to give himself the best shot to make a team, but a practice squad seems like it should be his goal.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster

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