The Alabama running back lineage will continue with another hard-nosed ball carrier that is squarely on the radar of NFL teams. Here is a scouting report on 2019 NFL Draft prospect, Damien Harris.
Derrick Henry, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake, Eddie Lacy.
The latest product out of the University of Alabama under head coach Nick Saban hopes to place his name alongside those batch of ball carriers that migrated from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to the NFL.
Four seasons with the Crimson Tide resulted in a fairly productive career for Harris. One that did more than enough to convince those within the NFL that Harris has what it takes to be a starting running back at the next level.
Before Harris reaches that pinnacle, let’s take the time to break down his overall game and what he has to offer.
Damien Harris Scouting Report
Weight: 216 pounds
Career stats: 477 rushes, 3,070 yards, 23 TDs; 52 receptions, 407 yards, 2 TDs
Strengths: Productive at the collegiate level in a premier program, 2,913 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in the last three seasons as a starter…Physical back who seeks out contact and able to absorb…Showcases great balance as a runner with the ability to not go down for initial contact…Very good pad level when running in traffic, tends to stay away from upright running style…Reliable in pass protection, able to recognize oncoming defenders and fluid to shift into place for his responsibility…Showed up in big game atmosphere (138 yards vs. USC in 2016, 125 vs. Texas A&M in 2015, 107 at LSU in 2018)…Quick, fluid footwork…Shows patience to allow run lanes to develop, gets upfield with little wasted motion.
Weaknesses: Elusiveness is lacking, does not make defenders miss in a 1-on-1 scenario…Long speed does not show up on tape; will not win many foot races…May not be a dependable weapon in the passing game, could very well not be a 3-down back at the next level…Overall athleticism is average at best, lack of it may lower his overall ceiling…Burst around the edge is not ideal.
Conclusion: Like many running backs before him, Harris has a hard-nosed running style the mirrored the aggressive style that is the University of Alabama. While Harris was a contributor for four seasons, he does not have a ton of wear and tear on the tires thanks to the Crimson Tide having an influx of running backs to share the load with. Which is always a plus for a prospect.
The 2019 NFL Draft is not loaded at the top with franchise changing running backs such as the Ezekiel Elliotts and the Todd Gurleys and that so happens to be good news for Harris. If a team is looking for a running back able to help steer an offense for 16-22 carries a game, Harris fits the bill.
Harris should not and will not have excessive expectations at the NFL level and will likely have a ‘good’ but not great career, however, Harris has the skill set to carve a useful role within the league and his Day 2 value could bring great dividends to a team in need.