RB Damien Harris – Patriots Rookie Spotlight

Damien Harris

The Patriots Rookie Spotlight is a daily series where I will go down the list and break down each of the 10 players taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. So far we have covered N’Keal Harry, Joejuan Williams, and Chase Winovich. Today we will break down RB Damien Harris, who has a chance to make an impact as a rookie, much like Sony Michel a year ago.

Damien Harris was drafted as somewhat of a surprise in round three. Harris was drafted 87th overall, which was an absolute bargain for one of the most prolific backs in the college football landscape. Harris is a unit at 5’10” 216 lbs., which plays into his power-running style.

Top Notch Vision

Harris ran for 3,070 yards and 23 touchdowns in 54 games with the Crimson Tide. He also showed the ability to catch the ball, adding 407 yards in the air. One thing that stands out during his tape is his vision. Harris is a very patient and balanced runner that creates his own running lanes by making small and quick cuts. If there is one thing to watch for in his film, it is his decision making. Specifically how he makes people miss without having to make monster cuts or hurdles. He can regularly just side step defenders which allows him to keep running hard.

Running Style and Skill Set

Harris keeps a low center of gravity and is hard to knock down, especially one-on-one or in space. Despite being labeled as a power back, he can catch the ball and has some speed. He ran a 4.57 40-yard dash and has great burst.

Future With The Patriots

Damien Harris played at Alabama for four seasons. He decided to stay with Nick Saban for his senior season over going pro. Harris is as prepared for the Patriot lifestyle as any rookie in his class. It is rare for a five-star recruit to have to battle for carries in college. Harris has that experience because everyone at Alabama is a five-star recruit, and Saban game plans much like Belicheck. Harris will have no problem splitting carries, and knows how to compete for reps.

Sony Michel showed how important he can be to the Patriots and his carries are not going away. That said, Michel will never have a completely healthy knee, and Harris will benefit from Michel needing a light workload to stay off the Injured Reserve List. James White is one of the best third-down backs in the league, which will also factor into Damien’s ability to get on the field. That being said, Harris is extremely talented and his game translates well into the Patriots system. Josh McDaniels will have the luxury of using Harris in any situation. He’s not just a goal-line back or a pass catcher, though he could be effective in both roles. I expect Harris to dominate in practice and work his way into the rotation with Michel and White.

Damien Harris Highlights

Please for your own sake – watch this video. It is near impossible to watch this video and not get excited for Damien Harris’s potential in the NFL.

If you liked this article, check out some other installments of this series, where I covered first-round pick N’Keal Harry here, second-round pick Joejuan Williams here, and fellow third-round pick Chase Winovich here. Stayed tuned for my breakdown of Yodny Cajuste tomorrow.

N’Keal Harry – Patriots Rookie Spotlight

Joejuan Williams – Patriots Rookie Spotlight

Chase Winovich – Patriots Rookie Spotlight