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Can 2019 UDFA cornerback, Deion Harris, earn a roster spot with the ‘Skins?

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Harris had a some draft buzz before tearing his Achilles and missing the 2017 season. Now, he’s trying to prove he belongs in the NFL.

NCAA Football: North Dakota at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Deion Harris has had a difficult journey to the NFL that was complicated by injury. He missed the entire 2017 season following an Achilles tear, and wasn’t able to produce at the same level as a 5th year senior in 2018 as he had previously. An article published in the Duluth News Tribune just before the NFL draft in April explains a lot of Harris’ background.

Before an Achilles tendon injury intervened, cornerback Deion Harris was shooting up NFL draft boards about as fast as he jumps passes.

Harris was viewed as a trendy sleeper, with Sporting News going so far as to rank him the 18th-best prospect of the 2018 draft. Granted, that was a full year before Harris’ draft class. But it offers an idea of how high this ex-Bluejacket’s stock had soared.


Click this link to access all 2018 and 2019 Undrafted Free Agent profiles on Hogs Haven

Physical, 6-foot-3 200-pounders with sub-4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash aren’t conventional.

Suffering a complete tear of his left Achilles tendon during a July 2017 workout pushed Harris’ senior season back to last fall, and it silenced the early round chatter. Now he’s simply hoping to have his name called during this week’s draft

We know, of course, that Harris didn’t hear his name called in this year’s draft. Instead, he attended rookie minicamps with Green Bay and Washington, eventually landing a contract with the Redskins, who are in need of developmental defensive backs, and seem to be making a real effort to improve team speed.

“I just look at it and put it in a positive way, that God has a plan for me,” Harris said. “Teams might not look at me as highly as they did before, but I know when I get in the league and when I have my foot in the door, when I start having my opportunities, they’ll hear about me.”

Harris says his speed is close to what it was before the injury, which occurred innocuously enough when he simply planted his foot, but he admits his quickness hasn’t yet returned to its previous level

While his explosiveness is still working its way back, Harris’ confidence has fully returned. It wasn’t easy.

”It took a long time,” he said. “Took a lot of ups and downs to get my confidence back and do what I’m used to doing.

”I play a little differently than I did before, but I’m getting back to where I was.”

The article paints a positive picture of Harris and his appeal to NFL teams, but it’s important to get an opinion from one of our own.

James FitzGerald (@GMDfitz7765) is a former college player, high school coach, and an avid college football fan who has spent hours in the film room watching opponents and his own teams. His analytical skill adds depth to these profiles that I can’t supply on my own.

Let’s see what he had to say after reviewing film of Deion Harris in action.


Fitz’s film review

Film Watched: NDU v. Washington plus Highlight Films

Deion Harris is a great form tackler. He does not go for shoelace tackles of arm tackles, but wraps people up and drives them into the ground.

He is also strong in press coverage. He uses his strength to stall guys at the line of scrimmage and knock them off their routes.

Harris is also pretty good in both man and zone coverage. He does not excel in one coverage or the other, but he is capable of both.

Of course, there are reasons why the player went undrafted. Harris struggled against FBS talent.

I watched his highlight tape before I watched the Washington game. Just looking at the highlight tape, I thought he had a great game vs. Washington. Then I watch the game tape.

He had a couple of good plays, but he got beat up by the Washington receiving corps for most of the game. In fact, he got burned three times in drives resulting in touchdowns. I was hoping to see a great game out of him here, but I was disappointed.

Harris also struggled to fight off blocks. As good as he was pressing wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, I expected him the fight off blocks better; however, he just seems to get blocked too easily.

Also, Harris doesn’t hustle toward the ball carrier. I was hoping to see him around the ball carrier more often, but, when the tackle was made, he was too often nowhere to be found. He was probably being blocked.

How would he fit with the Redskins?

I do not see a role for Deion Harris on the 53 man roster, although it is possible he could be a practice squad player. Deion Harris has some upside and I can see him developing into a good player, but, again, I don’t think he can make the 53 man roster this year. I don’t think he can beat out anybody currently on the depth chart, however, it may be worth having him on the practice squad to see if he can develop into a good defensive player.

In my opinion, he will be on the practice squad in 2019.

Poll

As UDFAs go, rate Deion Harris:

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A
    (51 votes)
  • 30%
    B
    (209 votes)
  • 50%
    C
    (345 votes)
  • 9%
    D
    (68 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (10 votes)
683 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How good are the chances that Deion Harris is on the Redskins roster in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Pretty strong
    (17 votes)
  • 4%
    Above Average
    (30 votes)
  • 24%
    50/50
    (156 votes)
  • 67%
    Unlikely
    (430 votes)
633 votes total Vote Now

A taste of Deion Harris’ Twitter feed: