27 games with only nine starts. That is Marcell Harris’ college career. Given his Achilles injury in July of 2016, Harris could have appealed for another season in college. That probably would have helped given his limited starting experience. He didn’t and now the 49ers have him.
There’s stuff on tape to like about Harris, he can play safety, he can fill in as a linebacker in some sub-packages like Eric Reid did. The only issue is, we just haven’t seen enough.
Now, with the film I’ve watched, I loved what I saw, my issues simply extend to the fact I haven’t seen enough of it. Nine games simply isn’t enough. This is the type of guy you draft with a sixth rough pick. If he can pan out, he provides excellent safety and linebacker depth much like Jimmie Ward does to cornerback and safety.
And if he can’t do that, you always have special teams, which this guy can be a centaur with. Josh Eccles has an excellent scouting report going into detail on what Harris brings to the table.
Experience: Rookie season
He is in year one of his four-year rookie deal. His rookie season pays him a base salary of $480,000with a prorated signing bonus of $41,575 to equal $521,575 for 2018.
What to expect in 2018
Harris is coming off a nasty Achilles injury and those can always be a bit hard to figure out. He is cleared for training camp so he has a chance to shine there. The 49ers have their starters with Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert at safety. The depth behind them is a huge question mark and Harris can definitely secure a backup spot and contribute on special teams. He also could spend time in the linebacker room to fill in there—he certainly has a build for it and the 49ers will be without Reuben Foster for two games to start 2018, so another person knowledgeable at linebacker could be useful. Given the safety issues and the fact Harris is a draft pick, there’s a lot they can do, he has a lot of question marks but those nine games certainly gave some hope didn’t they?
Odds of making the roster
Given the 49ers issues with safety depth and Harris’ special teams potential, he’s a strong bubble to get on the roster. If Harris is a lousy safety and not so good at linebacker, his college tape indicates he can be a big special teams contributor for his first year. The 49ers need safeties anyways, so unless he re-aggravates the injury to get him on IR, he’s going to be on the 49ers roster in 2018.