Isn't as technically sound up close to the line of scrimmage. Gets too impatient on his punch and at times loses balance into contact, can easily be stroked off the line and is forced to play from behind. Also, doesn't trust his backpedal as much either, has a tendency to play a bit upright and overextended at times when trying to change directions vertically down the field. However, possesses good fluidity in the hips and has a second gear to make up for a false step and track the football vertically.
Exhibits good closing speed down the field and has impressive click and close ability when asked to sit on routes. Lacks ideal strength in jump ball situations and at times can be overwhelmed by bigger receivers, but for the most part does a nice job keeping his feet under him, maintaining his balance and going up to high point the play. Snaps his head around quickly, locates the football well and displays natural body control when asked to go make a play.
Also, has some toughness in the run game. Is a willing tackler who will throw his body around and has some natural power as a striker. Doesn't wrap up well in pursuit, but when asked to break down in space, shoots well into tackles, wraps up and has had success bringing down some physical receivers one-on-one in space.
Impression: Needs to polish up his footwork a bit, especially closer to the line of scrimmage. But the natural fluidity, body control and make-up speed is there for him to mature into a very good starting corner in the NFL."
Man Coverage: Better in man to man coverage than zone due to his pure athleticism. Quick feet, loose hips, good balance and outstanding speed to remain in the hip pocket of his opponent. Doesn't back down from the challenge of playing bigger receivers. Keys on the receiver and gets his head around late. Quick hands to knock passes away, but doesn't have the time to locate the football, leading to more PBUs than INTs.
Zone Coverage: Improved his overall recognition as a junior, but remains a better man to man corner than zone defender. Good feel for where receivers are around him, but can get flat-footed and savvy QBs can "push" him laterally, opening up holes for receivers to expose. Generally a reliable open-field tackler, but isn't a punisher.
Closing/Recovery: Possesses outstanding game speed, including a late burst to recover if beaten initially. Can plant and drive downhill on the ball. Good recognition to know when he's beat and to make the tackle and when he has a chance to break up the pass or go for the interception. Times his collisions well so he doesn't draw the flag. Times his leaps well to compete for jump passes and shows good hand-eye coordination to slap away the ball as the receiver is attempting to secure it. Doesn't turn enough PBU's into interceptions, however, only securing four despite 26 passes defensed over his career.
Run Support: Recognizes run quickly and isn't afraid to come up in support. Good agility and flashes physicality to break free from receiver blocks. Maintains his containment responsibility and will force the back inside. Isn't a physical tackler, too often resorting to duck and swipe techniques, but gets the man on the ground.
Tackling: A reliable open-field tackler, but isn't always pretty doing it. Has a tendency to lead with his shoulder and/or lunge at the defender, resulting in some precarious tackles. Flashes the ability to deliver a pop, but relies too much on arm tackles. Has to do a better job of wrapping up the ballcarrier, though important to note that he did not miss a tackle on the games reviewed. Occasionally asked to blitz off the edge. Times the blitz well, shows good closing speed and the wherewithal to strip the football. Did take a terrible angle on a big play by Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd in the Sun Bowl.
Intangibles: Passionate and accountable. Quoted as saying that he and his classmates (2008 signing class) should dedicate their 2010 season to head coach Randy Shannon and that they were largely to blame for Miami's inconsistency. (Despite Harris' words, Shannon was ultimately fired.) Ran track for Miami as a freshman in the 60 meter (indoor), 400 meter (outdoor) and 4x400 meter (both). Good bloodlines. Coached in high school by his father, Tim Harris, USA Today's National Coach of the Year (2007). His brother, Tim, Jr. was a four-time All-American in track for Miami. Only needs to serve a two-month internship to earn his bachelor's degree in Business."
Ball Skills: Has only ordinary to below-average hands. He's more the kind of cornerback who is capable of breaking up a pass, as evidenced by his 26 passes defended. Has played some on kick returns (15 career), so he may develop some in this area. Dropped numerous interceptions as a freshman and was thrown at less and less the next two years.
Body Control: Although Harris doesn't have the best height, he maintains good body control to properly time his jumps. Of course bigger receivers have a good chance to beating him on jump balls, Harris times his leaps nicely. He's a fluid athlete, so it's hard to get Harris off his spot in bump coverage.
Instincts: This is one of Harris' bigger areas of strength. He doesn't seem to get confused by pre-snap adjustments by the offense and works in motion nicely. Has covered the slot and outside receiver in the same game, so he has a good feel for the field.
Man Coverage: Has a tendency to get beat off the line by big and fast receivers who can push him around. Has the ability to make up for this due to his very good quickness, short-area burst and deep speed. Prefers to play tight man, but is best in off-man coverage.
Size: Harris' size was exposed his junior year in the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame. Receiver Michael Floyd was able to use his size to out-man Harris for the ball. At his size, teams might only want to match him up against smaller receivers. Has a good build to his frame, but could get stronger to secure tackles better.
Speed: Plays much faster than his timed speed. Knows how to use his speed to stay with the wide receiver, especially deep down the field. Doesn't take time to get up to speed. Still, as good as Harris' speed is, you'd expect him to be considered more as a special teams player.
Tackling: Is good enough as a tackler. Teams may ask him to get stronger as sometimes he'll need to rely on gang tackling to take down the ball carrier. Sometimes takes questionable angles to the ball carrier.
Zone Coverage: Played more man coverage in his career than zone and it shows. As good as Harris is before the snap, he is sometimes slow to adjust in zone to locating the ball and taking the proper angle. He can make up for this problem because of his excellent short-area quickness. Needs to have a safety over the top in zone coverage so he only has to worry about a smaller area.
Final Word: For good and bad, Harris has skills that cannot be coached. His short area play is great he's incredibly instinctual for a early entrant. The bad trait that can't be helped is his height. Because of his size, some teams may only view Harris as a nickel cornerback in man coverage schemes. Still, he's relentless and remains confident against bigger receivers.
On a zone team, Harris will have to be given some time to learn. As instinctual as Harris is, you'd expect him to be more comfortable when he has to cover a wide area in zone. Instead, he'll need safety help over the top. It also doesn't help that Harris' hands are lacking. Still, he has the agility and playing ability of a first-round pick.
Was named a first-team All-ACC pick in 2009 with 52 tackles, 15 passes defensed, six tackles for loss and two interceptions. Was a second-team All-ACC pick in 2010 with 48 tackles, eight passes defensed and an interception."
However, with Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara considered by many to be two of the best prospects at the position in years, Harris will have to settle for No. 3 on most draft boards.
Harris is one of the draft's premier cover corners.
A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Harris was an essential component to the Hurricanes’ defense in each of his three collegiate seasons.
Harris possesses prototypical size for a cornerback, and excels as a man-to-man defender in coverage. While many corners are hesitant to get involved in tackling, Harris isn’t at all afraid to mix things up and is fearless in attacking ball-carriers. He broke up 15 passes during his junior season, and also recorded six tackles-for-loss. He shows good instincts with the ball in the air, and certainly has the speed and athleticism required to keep up with NFL-level wide receivers. For a corner, he’s extremely impressive in run coverage, as well, and will make plays around the line of scrimmage. Harris has shown a strong desire and love for playing the game, and isn’t afraid to be taught. His great closing speed is one of his finest attributes.
While Harris isn’t afraid to try and make tackles, his technique could stand to be refined a bit. Against a ball-carrier out in the open field, he has often struggled to successfully make the tackle. While he is proficient mirroring receivers in man coverage, his zone coverage needs some work. When in zone, he has a tendency to give too much space to potential receivers, and can give up too much unnecessary yardage as a result. His career stats aren’t overwhelming on paper, but that’s often the case for a true shutdown corner.
With Peterson and Amukamara each likely to be taken somewhere in the top 10, Harris is likely to slip to somewhere between 10th and 20th overall. Teams can never have enough corners, so a player of Harris’ caliber will be in high demand, and he’s extremely unlikely to drop anywhere below No. 20 in the first round. Teams like Houston, Minnesota, Detroit and Jacksonville are all in need of help against the pass, so Harris would seem to be a natural fit with one of them.
NFL Player Comparison: Devin McCourty"
Positive: Talented cover corner who has shown the ability to shut down opponents. Quick and fluid pedaling in reverse, loses nothing transitioning to run with opponents off the line, and easily flips his hips in every direction. Stays with receivers out of their breaks. Displays an explosive burst to the action out of his plant, quickly closes to the play, and has the ability to recover from mistakes because of his speed. Plays with physicality. Holds his ground against blocks or sheds them to make his way up the field and defend running or screen plays. Wraps up tackling.
Negative: Seems tentative and slow to react in zone coverage. Struggles against large opponents.
Analysis: Harris possesses the physical skills and shows the underlying fundamentals at the cornerback position to be a number one at the next level. He has the ability to be used in man coverage or backed off the line of scrimmage and should quickly break in with the first team as a rookie in the NFL."
Negatives: Struggles to shed blocks... Needs to wrap up better in run support... Often throws a shoulder or tackles too high...Must improve on his back pedal... Can be over aggressive at times... Has not played a lot of zone coverage while at Miami... A bit inconsistent throughout his career, started off a bit shaky."
Weaknesses: Not always a great jammer at the LOS. Likes to try to play bigger than he is suited for playing. Big, physical WRs will give him trouble. Doesn't relish hard contact. Some of his movements are a little herky jerky. Footwork is not polished yet. Doesn't often make much of an impact in the run game. Should pick off more passes than he does.
Projection: Late 1st-mid second type of talent...A lot will depend on his interviews and his forty time in the postseason. Likely a mid-to-late 2nd, or early-3rd rounder."
Harris has the right attitude, but he has the skills to play at the next level too. He has a quick first step and amazing overall speed. Very few players at any level will blow by him. For a player who relies on speed, Harris is surprisingly tough and the opposition cannot pick on him anymore or Harris will make them pay.
Miami got torched by Ohio State and Florida State early in the 2010 season and Harris has some work to do before he will be considered a consensus first round pick. He definitely has the skills to be considered a first round pick by the end of his junior season, but he needs to have good games against good teams like Virginia Tech later in the year."
This Miami man is a do-everything, versatile cornerback that may lack an elite ceiling. However, it would be a mistake to underestimate this jack-of-all-trades even if he is a master of none. NFL defensive coordinators will instantly fall in love with his ability to contribute in all situations. Combine that versatility with his leadership, love of the game, reputation as being coachable, and the fact that he brings it on every down and you get a player we believe should have a long and profitable professional career. The only questions are whether Harris will declare following the 2010 or 2011 season…and if he does, how high will he go? If he can add functional playing weight and test well at the NFL Scouting Combine it might be difficult to keep Harris out of the first round. Even if he doesn’t we don’t see the ACC product slipping further than the second round. Whenever he ends up hearing his name called we’re confident the team that lands him will be very pleased. Look for Harris to be a First Team All-ACC selection in 2010 and potentially challenge for All-American honors."
He is quick and very solid in all facets of the game, driving hard against the run and pass. In three seasons, he has only four interceptions, and he could stand to improve his ball recognition. He has the tools to develop into a solid starter in the pros."
Brandon Harris brings excellent Fluidity, good Long Speed, sharp Instincts, and exceptional Verticity ~ Turn + Burn ~ to the table.
He does seem much better suited to play Zone, as he lacks top end Strength, and can be shunted aside at the Line of Scrimmage too easily in Press. But in the Zone, he should be very effective, indeed.
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