Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
When I completed my scouting report on Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, I had yet to grade the Cowboys’ cornerbacks for their 2010 play. Now, the grades are in:
1. Orlando Scandrick: B- (83.4)
2. Terence Newman: C+ (77.0)
3. Mike Jenkins: D (64.6)
To say the Cowboys need help in the secondary would be an understatement. While I do think all three cornerbacks above will improve in 2011 (particularly Jenkins), the future of the position is uncertain.
Newman will turn 33 during the upcoming season and really struggled in 2010. He seems to have trouble locating the football while still maintaining position to make a play on it.
Jenkins appeared to lose confidence this year. I do think he’ll regain his swagger in 2011, but he has a long way to go.
Orlando Scandrick actually played quite well over the final 10 games or so, but I think his skill set is best suited for the slot. If he moved outside, his lack of strength and size could hurt him.
My grade on Amukamara wasn’t incredible–I’m not as high on him as others. I still think he’s a top 15-20 talent, but I actually like today’s feature quite a bit more. . .
Brandon Harris is a versatile cornerback. He excels in man coverage, displaying the athleticism, hips, and speed to thrive at the next level. He’s only 5’11”, 195 pounds, but he’s a very willing tackler. Take a look at the first play below, as Harris flies across the field to make a hit. When I first watched the play, I thought it was a linebacker.
Harris shows no hesitancy to throw his body around, and I think 90 percent of being a good tackler is attitude.
While some claim that Harris isn’t adept in zone coverage, I disagree. Take a look at the 1:17 mark above. Harris is initially in man coverage but reads the quarterback, drops his guy, and makes a tremendous break on the football for the interception. His awareness and football IQ are elite. He understands defensive concepts and plays very intelligently, showing me no reason he wouldn’t excel in zone coverage nearly just as much as man.
Harris also exhibits the ball skills which the Cowboys’ cornerbacks have traditionally lacked. He’s a playmaker–a receiver playing cornerback. At the 1:47 mark above, Harris gets beat immediately but uses his athleticism and ball skills to get in position to swat the football away from the receiver. These sort of plays are littered throughout his tape.
The worst game I found is below. At the 21-second mark, Harris fails to properly break down and takes a poor angle to the ball-carrier. His biggest weakness is open-field tackling, but he has the proper attitude and work ethic to correct it. For more evidence of his willingness to tackle, check out the 1:03 mark below.
Overall, I love Harris. He has it all–man coverage ability, zone coverage ability, an upbeat attitude, and a willingness to improve. He’s the most instinctual player I’ve assessed thus far. Put simply, he’s not only a great athlete, he’s a football player.
Harris figures to go anywhere from the mid-first to early second-round. I personally believe he’s a top 10 talent, and I will have him rated ahead of Amukamara on my big board.
If the ‘Boys want Harris, they should probably trade down from their No. 9 selection or move up from the second-round. I don’t think there’s any chance Harris drops to No. 41.