Cleveland Browns: Nick Harris Played A Superb Game vs. Packers

Backup center Nick Harris had a strong outing for the Cleveland Browns against the Packers on Christmas Day.

As the NFL continued to fight through a wild COVID spread, every team was affected. This included the Cleveland Browns, who had to work with an extremely short week before a Christmas matchup with the Packers. Center J.C. Tretter got put on the COVID list two days before, leaving backup Nick Harris to step in for him. In relief, Harris played some darn good ball, showing that the Browns have impressive depth at the position.

Harris was a fifth round selection for the Browns in the 2020 NFL Draft, and was thought to be a value pick at that spot. Harris played his college ball with the Washington Huskies, and was a big part of the success in that offense at center.

His highlighted traits included a perfect fit for zone-centric offense, with the initial quicks, movement skills, and space blocking ability to be an asset in the NFL. He was obviously a bit undersized, and his lack of scheme-diversity likely led to his fall, as undersized centers often give up ground to powerful defensive tackles in pass protection.

Harris had played in eight games for the Browns before his first start on Saturday, and he had an impressive first outing as a starter. The scheme obviously helps amplify his strengths, as he looked excellent getting out of his stance and did a great job as a puller in the run game. He got out to his spot on numerous occasions in space, and was a bit part of the reason why Nick Chubb looked as dominant as usual.

He looked comfortable identifying defensive looks and helping get protection correct pre-snap, and didn’t hurt the Browns in pass protection at all. He did a good job anchoring when he gave up some initial ground, and stayed patient to help out when the Packers stayed wide with their front.

There are still things for Nick Harris to work on, most notably his hand placement at first contact when rushed head-on. However, it’s nice to know that the offense can function full-go with him at center. The Cleveland Browns look set at center for a long time with Tretter and Harris.