Harris is a prototypical height/weight/speed prospect and a 3 year starter in the Redbird’s secondary. He’ll be joining an already talented group of cornerbacks in Cincinnati and should have time to mature into the player the Bengals’ coaching staff believe he can be in the NFL.
What Davontae Harris does well:
Height/Weight/Speed: Harris has impressive speed, agility, and ball skills. With a 4.43 40 yard dash and 4.4 20 yard shuttle he’ll be able to run with some of the fastest receivers in the NFL. Because of his 200+ pound frame he’s not shy at providing run support and does so with enthusiasm. Being aware of his speed and size he runs through offenses players when tackling rather than trying to rely on arm tackles in the open field.
Has Above Average Physicality and Toughness: Plays aggressive in the run game and isn’t afraid to hit receivers and dislodge the ball in the passing game. He uses his size to his advantage and forces out passes that are typically allowed by smaller or less aggressive defensive backs.
Provides Versatility: Because of Harris’ toughness and size it allows him to play both cornerback and safety. This added flexibility will allow new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin to move him around and see where he can best benefit the team.
Special Teams Ability: Special teams is often overlooked by many casual NFL fans but NFL coaches can’t overstate the importance of good special teams players. Harris’ combination of size, speed, agility, and aggression will make him immediately useful on Sundays.
Where Davontae Harris needs to improve:
Fluidity in Hips: One of the biggest knocks on Harris’ game is that he has tight hips and has trouble flipping when necessary.
Subpar Anticipation: Harris doesn’t do a great job of reading the quarterback’s eyes or knowing when to close down on opposing receivers routes. He sometimes also has a tendency to panic when the ball is in the air.
Why the pick makes sense:
Because the Bengals’ cornerback depth is in major flux after 2018. Adam Jones is gone, and next year, Darqueze Dennard and Josh Shaw become free agent. Keivarae Russell is also still an unproven commodity, so the Bengals badly needed to add another defensive back on Day 3 of this draft.
There’s also some thought Harris could move to safety in the NFL. Perhaps he can take on the Josh Shaw role for Cincinnati by playing cornerback and safety.
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