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49ers met with Roy Robertson-Harris at UTEP Pro Day

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The San Francisco 49ers are looking for additions to their outside linebacker depth chart, and appear to have chatted up a potential diamond in the rough.

The San Francisco 49ers were on hand at the UTEP Pro Day on Friday, and it sounds like they showed some interest in a long-armed pass rusher. SB Nation's UTEP blog was on hand for the Pro Day, and indicated the 49ers and Panthers showed more interest than others.

I spoke with Alex Nicolas from Miner Rush, and he said the 49ers representative who spoke with Robertson-Harris seemed very engaged with him. They also were one team specifically putting the 6'7, 255 pound defensive end through outside linebacker drills. That certainly does not mean he will end up on the 49ers, but maybe this person ends up pushing for Robertson-Harris in the draft room later this month.

Alex took some time to provide a scouting report on the long-armed pass rusher. I can't find specifics on arm length, but every report indicates they are sizable. Here's what Alex had to say about his performance at the Pro Day, and then below that is Alex's look at strengths and weaknesses.

Robertson-Harris, posted a 4.8 second 40-yard dash time, 23 repetitions on the bench press, a 7.0 time in the 3-cone drill, a 4.27 time in the 5-10-5 short shuttle and a 35-inch vertical leap.  He also took some field work reps as an outside linebacker for the 49ers.

Strengths

  • Natural, smooth athlete
  • Motor
  • Speed
  • Explosion off the ball
  • Football IQ
  • Tackling

The first thing that stands out about Roy is his size, and length, which makes him a rangy fit in a 3-4 scheme at outside linebacker, mixed with his natural athletic ability, tackling form, and speed. He's a physical specimen at a solid 6'5, 255, and has been an imposing force since he stepped on campus. His motor is shown at the line of scrimmage, in the backfield, and in the second level chasing down running backs, even 60-plus yards down field. UTEP's defensive line boasted a 5.4% havoc rate this past season ranking in the top-60's nationally, and Robertson-Harris provided 7 percent of the Miners tackles ranking third on the team.

He uses his hands, size, footwork, and strength very well in running stopping situations, and his natural athletic ability simply takes over as a pass rusher. Roy's biggest strength is crashing the heal line off the edge against the run. It's fun as hell to watch him execute that either backside or head on.

Talking, and interviewing Roy over the past three seasons he was the vocal leader of the UTEP defense, and is a very smart player who adjusted to being a center piece in UTEP's 4-2-5 defense with his hand in the ground. His focus, and emotional impact on UTEP's defense is another strength he showed, and of course his work ethnic was displayed during his impressive Pro Day output.

Weaknesses

  • Coverage
  • Pad Level
  • Finding a fit
  • Statistical production

First off talking about coverage, Robertson-Harris has played with his hand in the ground for most of his college career, and has dropped back in coverage a few times or two if my recollection is right. It's not a proven weakness, but a definite question mark when adjusting to outside linebacker.

During his Pro Day, his hips were on point in terms of lateral movement, and as a natural athlete his feet were also pretty much on point. He dropped the first lob on his break to the ball, but easily caught the second. A workable area I'm sure he is already working on. Pad level at the next level could be a standout weak point in OTA's while adjusting to OLB, a new scheme, and the monster that is NFL football.

At first glance at his stats, it doesn't scream NFL must draft, but again Robertson-Harris contributed to UTEP's high defensive line havoc rate, and the Miners also had a 20.7 percent stuff rate on runs in large part due to his own havoc off the edge. While the stats won't show a double digit sack season, he made an overall impact on defense the past two seasons, but his production at the next level could be heavily judged on his job status.

Overall

Whoever picks up Robertson-Harris is getting an NFL ready player who will probably need the perfect fit, (49ers, Chiefs?) to stick on a roster into the preseason. Coming out of high school he was a 3-star, top-60 rated defensive end by Rivals, and had offers from Arkansas, Texas, Tech, and Minnesota, but found a home as a four year contributor at UTEP. His experience playing in 47 college games along with a growing football IQ will also play a factor in his NFL adjusting process. Although where he fits in and at what position is interesting to me. He had a solid career at UTEP, but I feel his best football is ahead of him, but again the repetitive sentiment is finding a perfect fit.