Here’s another late-round selection coming off a serious injury who probably won’t be able to be an immediate contributor right from the start - sounds a bit familiar, right? While there was some eye-rolling made among those in the 49ers community (myself included), the production that last year’s draft class provided for the 49ers on the field has given John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan the benefit of the doubt.
Height: 6’1” Weight: 216 lbs Arms: 32” Hands: 8 5/8”
Harris tore his Achilles in the summer of 2017 and, as a result, missed the entire following season at Florida. He also decided to sit out his pro day and had this to say about the matter, via SEC Country:
Harris did not run or take part in any drills at Pro Day, but he wanted to be around the scouts nonetheless. “I’ve been running [and] everything,” he said. “Just talking to some executives, my agents and everybody else, just thought it was best for me to sit out today.”
...He says he feels like the same play-making safety who led Florida with 73 tackles in 2016, along with 4 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and a forced fumble. “He ain’t left,” Harris said of that version of himself. “I mean, they know. Game film speaks for itself.”
The safety’s time on the field, although limited, did provide us with a glimpse into what kind of a player he may become in the NFL (if you fast forward to the 1:10 mark in the following highlight video you can actually witness Harris laying a hit on CJ Beathard - a hit that Beathard recovers from nicely and nearly gets into the end zone for a touchdown, which should further solidify the collective-crush we all have on him):
- Possesses high personal character
- Carries NFL-ready frame
- Downhill mentality
- Striker with attitude when lurking in middle of the field
- Adequate instincts; plays with decent anticipation in coverage
- Good quicknes to plant and drive
- Face-up hitter
- High achiever on special teams
- Missed all of 2017 with Achilles tear and played in just 27 career games with nine starts
- Very tight through hips
- Feet barely seem to come off ground when he runs
- Will struggle to match routes in man
- Recovery speed is below average
- Limited by a lack of deep speed
Right away it’s easy to see that Marcell Harris is not afraid to give up his body in order to make a tackle. He definitely has the size and toughness to play safety in the NFL but, as previously mentioned, he is coming off an achilles injury that forced him to miss all of his senior season at Florida and ultimately contributed to his draft stock drop. His inexperience coupled with the seriousness of his injury make it difficult to say whether or not he will be able to immediately contribute on the defensive side of the ball - although there is still plenty of opportunity for him to make a name for himself on special teams.
From there, who knows what will happen! If all you get out of a 6th round selection (pick 184, to be exact) is solid contributions on special teams then I’m all for it - I think Harris, though, comes with the upside of one day (potentially) being able to roam around in the San Francisco secondary, opposite Adrian Colbert (another late-round draft pick). If he can round his game out and learn how to play on the defensive side of the ball in the NFL then this may turn out to be a high-value pick for the 49ers.