Alabama running back Damien Harris is another in a long line of Crimson Tide backs that will tote the rock in the NFL. The 5-foot-10, 216-pounder didn’t see the massive workload that Mark Ingram or Derrick Henry did in Tuscaloosa, and he wasn’t even the first Alabama back taken. Josh Jacobs went to the Raiders with the No. 24 overall pick in Thursday’s first round of the draft.
Despite this, Harris has remained a top 2019 NFL Draft prospect. He wrapped up his senior season with 150 carries for 876 yards and 9 touchdowns. Over the past three seasons, Alabama’s top running back posted yards per carry averages of 7.1, 7.4 and 6.1 yards per carry while topping 1,000 yards in both 2016 and 2017.
Will Harris get drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round Friday night in Nashville? Let’s take a look at his latest mock drafts and projections.
Damien Harris Mock Drafts, Projections and Scouting Report
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com predicts that Harris will go in the 3rd round at No. 74 overall to the Buffalo Bills. This is a change from the beginning of the year, as many outlets (including our own Jeff Smith) saw him as a late 1st-rounder. He would be the power complement to LeSean McCoy.
Falcons Wire noted that Atlanta could take him with a mid-round pick. Since the franchise traded away their 2nd and 3rd round selections, that would have to wait until the No. 117 pick in the 4th.
Harris is a perfect running back for an inside zone system. He’s going to be a useful all-around back for an NFL team with a lot of refinement in his game already. DeMarco Murray is his best comparison in terms of playing style.
The Eagles are another team in the market for a running back, says Inside the Iggles. They did acquire Jordan Howard from the Bears this offseason, which takes away the pressure to make an immediate decision on Harris. Mel Kiper predicts he’ll be the No. 54 overall pick to the Houston Texans in a trade from the Seattle Seahawks.
Despite his smaller frame, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports calls Harris the most powerful runner in this year’s class. He does dock some points for a lack of elusiveness and vision.
Harris runs much more authoritatively than his nearly 5-foot-11, 216-pound frame suggests. He has tree trunks for legs and awesome balance. Jacobs is a little more sleek, although he weighed in at more than Harris at the combine. Plenty of power to his game overall.
Harris is actually pretty reminiscent of Ingram. Both are squat runner without elite breaking speed, but both run with leverage that will give them extra yards after first contact. Harris notched a 4.57-second 40-yard dash, but his job in the pros could be converting short-yardage situations and setting up easier 3rd-down ones.
Overall, a team isn’t going to feel cheated if it selects Harris. You know what you get from him: tough yardage, falling forward and good pass blocking. As far as NFL backs go, those qualities can make a decent career.