Mock Draft Spotlight: Miami CB Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris thinks his football pedigree and versatility set him apart on the 2nd tier.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at 11:47 am | Categories: 2011 NFL Draft, Mike Duffy, Mock Draft Spotlight

There is no doubt that LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara of Nebraska are the two best cornerbacks entering the NFL Draft, but Miami’s Brandon Harris hopes his football roots and versatility can make him stand tall on the second tier.
Throughout college all-star games, the NFL Scouting Combine and the pro day interview process, Harris has been fighting off a group behind the top pair, one that includes Jimmy Smith of Colorado and Texas’ Aaron Williams.
“I was born into this game,” said Harris, the son of 2007 USA Today High School Coach of the Year Tim Harris.  “I think my love for the game and passion separates me from a lot of people.
“And I’m able to do a lot of things on the football field. At Miami, they played me in the slot a lot, and I also played outside. I was able to move around and make a lot of plays.”
According to most draft analysts, Harris is a late first-round, early second-round prospect and should be available when the Ravens draft at No. 26 overall, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper even hooked the Ravens up with Harris in his January mock draft.
Kiper wrote at the time, “The Ravens ran into some really bad luck last year, when their first pick, Sergio Kindle, got hurt off the field. And among all their other picks, one spot they didn’t hit was cornerback. Harris is a solid value at this stage, as he carries a late-first round grade. A coach’s son, he offers prototype size at 5’11″, 195 pounds, good instincts and isn’t shy in run support. The Ravens need to address the secondary and Harris is a good option.”
Harris’ pedigree is probably a big reason he got to this point.
Thrown into the fire as a freshman in 2008, Harris gained valuable experience he was able to use en route to a standout sophomore campaign.
That year, Harris finished second in the nation and first in the ACC with 15 passes defensed.
Starting all 13 games last season, Harris recorded 44 tackles, a team-leading 10 passes defensed and one interception even when the opposition regularly avoided him.
“Being able to be a three-year starter gave me a whole lot of confidence,” Harris said.  “I came in as a freshman and earn a starter spot and play against a lot of big-time college players. Every year, my confidence rose.
“I’m at the point right now, my confidence is so high and I believe in myself a ton.”
Even though Harris’ size isn’t huge, it is adequate at the NFL level. 
And Harris’ speed – he ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the combine – and athleticism make him an intriguing candidate for teams that run man-to-man coverages, which the Ravens do at times.
Harris hopes all those factors place him high atop draft boards, even if it is behind Peterson and Amukamara.
“Me being a smaller cornerback, it helps me to come from a system like Miami where I was able to be aggressive and physical against those bigger receivers that don’t expect guys my size to be able to do,” Harris said.  “When I am able to use my footwork and put my hands on guys, that’s something that guys are impressed by when they see me do that being I’m not 6 foot or 6-1.
“I’m prepared to go a long way in this game of football to play against those bigger receivers coming up in the ranks.”

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