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Prospect Profiles: DaJohn Harris

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DAJOHN HARRIS, DT, USC

TRIANGLE NUMBERS: 6-4, 310, 5.2

SCOUTING REPORTS:

National Football Post:

Is a bit taller than most typical USC defensive tackles, but still possesses that thick trunk and base. Is a linear pass rusher who possesses a good first step off the football and when he keeps his base down can be very effective/disruptive. However, is inconsistent in his stance, gets straight-legged at times, comes off the ball upright and doesn’t create the necessary burst to his game in order to get into blocks quickly. Has improved his balance as a pass rusher, which has made him a move effective laterally. Works his arms well once he gains a step using the rip to fight off blocks and when he keeps his base under him he can fight to disengage and penetrate through contact and into the backfield. Also, displays some bull rush ability as well when he plays with proper leverage.

Has done a much better job as a senior firing off the ball low, which allows him to shoot his hands and keeps his pad level down on contact. And he’s doing a better job routinely anchoring and fight his way into the backfield. Plus, does a much better job creating a pop on contact, maintaining his balance and is more effective when looking to shed. However, has a tendency to stand upright if he doesn’t win off the snap when looking to disengage. Will use his length and at times violent hands well when looking to get off blocks, but even when he does shed, too often he allows himself to get worked down the field. Possesses a solid motor in pursuit and will work from the backside, but isn’t overly rangy.

Was listed as the number two nose tackle on the depth chart entering the 2011 season, many believed it’s not due to talent/performance, but more so to motivate him to come into camp in shape.

Impression: Improved his pad level, balance and hand usage as a senior and looks like one of the better senior DT prospects. Looks like an intriguing rotational guy with some long term upside.

Sideline Scouting

Positives — Nice frame with thick lower body and good top-end speed… Very good first step off the line, can knife through gaps and quickly work his way into the backfield, good quickness and closing speed… Flashes good hand play and a quick punch, strong hands to jolt and create a pop on contact, has some stack and shed ability, though inconsistent with hand usage… Fluid athlete, former high school tight end, agile with reasonably quick nimble feet, plays with good balance and changes direction well for his size, has the athleticism to get up and down the line… Gets his hands up in passing lanes when he can’t get to the quarterback, had six pass break-ups in 2011… Very stout, thick trunk to anchor, is tough to move, can clog running lanes, holds his ground against double teams; when he stays low, he can fight his way into the backfield and can dominate versus the run… Does a nice job controlling blockers, moving his feet and locating the ball as a run defender… Hustles to make plays in pursuit… No known character issues, is well-liked by teammates, good locker room guy… Might also get some looks as a 3-4 DE (5-technique)… Had a great week of practice during the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Negatives — Is overly reliant on quickness when rushing the passer and lacks counter moves, limiting his effectiveness as a pass rusher, other pass rushing moves are still developing… Frustratingly inconsistent, when he plays to his potential he looks like a second rounder and NFL starter, but he disappears for stretches during games and he looks no better than a late rounder at best, talent exceeded performance throughout his career… Inconsistent in his hand usage and placement to get off blocks… Is also prone to playing a little upright at times, doesn’t always coil up and will expose himself to blockers, can be washed out of the play… Loses stamina as the game moves on, wears down toward the end of games, motor runs hot and cold, plays high as he begins to tire, struggled with conditioning early in his collegiate career… Was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing during sleep, and can suffer daytime sleepiness and fatigue… Missed the 2007 season to focus on academics.

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FF Toolbox:

DaJohn Harris made the right choice to stay in school last season and improved his fundamentals in his senior season with the USC Trojans.

Harris has some nice weight in his lower half, which he uses to his advantage with a strong base and low pad level. He typically looks to attack straight ahead with a bull rush and will need to adapt his game to develop more moves in his pass rush. He can usually hold his ground in double teams, but isn’t a threat to shoot the gap or really blow anyone off the line. Harris like to rip blockers to one side and attack the ball-carrier.

Off the snap, he does well to stay low and engage with his blocker. If he loses in the race to initial contact, he can be a liability as he doesn’t have much arsenal to get reset into a second mode of attack. He should compete for a starting spot at the next level but would be best served with a year coming off the bench.

Harris had a nice Senior Bowl week which should secure him a place in the middle rounds, but he lacks the special athleticism and upside to go much earlier than that.

VIDEO:

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCUayKv7mac[/pro-player]

GiantsGab Thoughts:

DaJohn Harris is a midround defensive tackle prospect, who has some upside. Good athlete, good off the snap. Decent run stopper. Solid. Nothing special, but that’s okay. The Giants have two starting defensive tackles, in Chris Canty and Linval Joseph. Rocky Bernard is set to depart via free agency. We have no idea about Marvin Austin. Need depth. Harris is a rotation guy. Has some work to do, but I think he has upside as a rotational guy who can spot start if needed. Again, not going to be a star, but in the 4th or 5th round, is a guy who has experience and could play right away.

*Update 3/7/12*

Harris didn’t participate in combine drills because doctors found a hole in his heart. Awful news. Don’t know the prognosis, but we wish him the best in his recovery.

PREVIOUS PROFILES

RB:

David Wilson

WR:

Juron Criner

TE:

Coby Fleener

OT:

Mitchell Schwartz

OG:

Cordy Glenn

DE:

Malik Jackson

LB:

Luke Keuchly

Zach Brown

CB:

Casey Hayward


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