After two seasons in the NFL, Parys Haralson had accumulated 2.5 sacks. At that point, his scouting report read as follows:
He is not as tall or as fast as you'd like for an outside backer, but he has good initial quickness and a short burst. He reads blocking schemes well and does a good job of locating the level of the ball. He can adjust on the move and understands angles. He is a natural pass-rusher with body control and a good feel for pressure and when to counter pass blockers . . . with the ability to take on blockers and shed with hand use and natural leverage. However, he can get engulfed by bigger linemen due to his lack of size . . . and does not show great route recognition or ability to read the quarterback's eyes . . . You'd love to have him as backup and role player, but he can start if needed and fill in admirably.
Here at Niners Nation (and I'm sure in message boards across the Internet), Haralson was a guy everybody liked and thought could be somewhat of an impact pass rusher. However, it was more just the thought of it than actual production that would indicate otherwise.
Then Sunday happened and he walked away with 2.5 sacks, doubling his career total. I don't have the video in front of me but at least in the first half, Haralson was all over the field and bringing some serious pressure behind Justin Smith.
Over at sf49ers.com, they're going to have a different player break down each game, and Parys Haralson was there for Week 1:
On defense I worked primarily against their right tackle Levi Brown. Brown is a bigger guy than me, so leverage is everything. That’s really true in football period. Some guys study and plan different techniques against a certain guy, but to be honest, I just go out and play. I think if you just go out and play hard and give effort, you’ll just react well and make the right moves. If I’m out there thinking too much, I know I’m pretty much getting nothing done. I just try to go out and play hard and then look up at the end and see the outcome . . .
In the second half, I’m not going to take anything away from Arizona. They did do some good things against us, but we also did some things to hurt ourselves out there. We were on the field for a long time in the third quarter, but that was really our own fault. We should have gotten off the field, and made the stops. Regardless of the turnover on the kickoff, we have to keep playing hard and give it our all.
So, will we see a second strong effort from Haralson this weekend against Seattle? Levi Brown (mentioned above) is the Cardinals right tackle, so I believe that means Haralson would be lining up against 4th year right tackle Ray Willis. Willis was a backup prior to this season, but his scouting report indicates he "lacks the lateral range to get out with some of the better speed rushers."
Haralson has always been on the edge of the radar. I didn't discuss him very much in the offseason and focused my thoughts more on Ray McDonald bringing the rush. However, if we've got McDonald and Smith coming in from the line and Haralson busting in right after them it could be quite overwhelming for an offensive line.
So, what kind of season can we expect out of Parys Haralson? It probably would require a couple more weeks to make an accurate assessment, but for now just general thoughts are welcome. I'm sure we'll see some inconsistency from time to time, particularly against the better offensive linemen. And of course part of it depends on the defensive linemen opening up holes. However, I think his natural talent will allow him to take the next step in his development. Maybe not to full-on Lawrence Taylor pass rusher, but definitely a threat other teams have to game plan for every week.