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What's the Deal with David Harris' Athleticism ?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by BelichickFan, Apr 26, 2007.

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  1. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Before the combine/pro day he was fairly slow and not overly athletic. Then he blew that away with his numbers, not just the 40 but the other drills too.

    Was he just underutilized in coverage, etc, at Michigan so people didn't see what he could do or does his athleticism not show up on the field ?

    It's the same thing as Leon Hall blasting below a 4.4 at the combine and Jarrett running a 4.6 at his pro day but in the game Jarrett ran right past him.

    I want to like Harris but just like Chad Jackson was said to have manufactured speed and not live up to it on the field, I am worried about the same this with Harris.
  2. Remix 6

    Remix 6 Rookie

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    Chads speed live up on the field..u just cant say a 4.32 means hes gonna beat everyone on the field..40s are overrated

    its like Calvin Johnson..at 235-240 you wouldnt expect him to run a 4.35 because on the field he doesnt look that fast because hes so big

    as for Harris..hes not athletic like Vilma..Urlacher..and other guys that came out as athletic LBs but hes no slouch..he moves around well and plays.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  3. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    "Athleticism" is so overstated. We are looking for football players not athletes.

    As long as a player gets the job done I don't care what his drill times are.

    Harris has been described as one of the best coverage linebackers in the country. That's all you need to know.
  4. jeffd

    jeffd Rookie

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    I think by athleticism he means speed and change of direction skill. In college you get get by being smart and strong and not athletic, or by being athletic but not smart or strong. Athleticism is very important. It doesn't do you any good to know where you need to be if you can't get there. Also, a players athleticism is generally what it is, with little room for improvement. A dumb, athletic person is the definition of a good project player. Basically when a player has a "low floor" they are smart players, players with a "high ceilling" are generally the athletic guys.

    For a veteran player I would agree that production is all that counts. But a college player can be production because of poor competition, drill times are helpful.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  5. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    I just think that if I hear the word athleticism one more time when it comes to linebackers I am going to slam my head against my keyboard.
  6. cstjohn17

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    I am with you, the more I think about it I want players who will work hard and improve. As far as atheletism goes, most NFL players are comparable. They are among the best in the world, big, strong, fast, etc.

    I love to read 40 times, bench press numbers, shuttle, etc. but long-term it comes down to working hard and improving. Any player we draft won't be expected to start in year 1, we may get lucky and have one break through but realistically we are drafting for years 2+. It is rare to see a college player who is physically and mentally able to start right away, it will be the dedicated players who get better with each season. Examples off the top of my head of players who really improved year after year are Ty Warren, David Givens and others. It is a wake up call for a lot of kids who have been the best player in the history of their high school, top 10 in the state, all Americans, etc. Once they get the NFL none of that matters, natural gifts are irrelevant. As BB says "We want players who think football is important".


    I hope we draft a bunch of players who are willing to bust their butts, not that fastest, strongest, etc.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  7. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    Athleticism is huge for the LB position because they are asked to do so many different things.
    Non-athletic LB's are usually one dimensional and get exposed fairly quickly.

    In a basic 3-4 defense, the two OLB's almost have to be athlectic freaks to survive. Just look current and past successful OLB's, Lawrence Taylor, Merriman, Ware, Kevin Greene, McGinest, etc.) Jason Taylor of Miami was the DPOTY last year as a 3-4 OLB.
  8. jeffd

    jeffd Rookie

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    I'll also add that one of the biggest reason we lost to the Colts was a severe lack of athleticism at LB. Our LB's just weren't quick enough to get into those deep passing lanes.
  9. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    I hope we draft a bunch of players who are willing to bust their butts AND are the fastest, strongest, etc.

    Seymour, Colvin, Warren, Wilfork, Watson, A.Thomas, C.Jackson all have RARE athleticism. Their production doesn't always match their skill sets, but I think we tend to tag guys as "Patriot-type" players and assume that means high football IQ and passion BUT less athletic.

    Remember, D.Starks busted his butt and certainly didn't get any dumber since his time in Baltimore. Is that what what you want? Not me.
  10. BelichickFan

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    I want a guy who's tough with good instincts too. But one of our biggest problems is unathletic ILB (and Safeties with who we ended the season too) . . . there comes a time where you need a LB to be able to cover a Dallas Clark or a running back out of the backfield.
  11. cstjohn17

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    #54 Jersey

    I am not saying go out and draft a bunch of 145 pound players, but at the NFL level there are very few "specimens" who are so physically dominant that they can change a game. And most of these players are drafted top 5.

    We beat the Colts in the past with 37 year old Phifer, slow as a snail Ted Johnson, rocket fast Anthony Pleasant and Bobby Hamilton. I don't want to diminish them because they played great but all of them would struggle to break 5.0 in the 40. Alexander is faster than any of them and he was torched.

    I hope all 3 first day picks are the back 8 of the defense but don't really care if the player is the fastest at his position.
  12. jeffd

    jeffd Rookie

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    Phifer was slow but had good COD skills, Ted Johnson didn't play passing downs, Pleasant and Hamilton were DL. And Bruschi was more agile a few years ago too. And our secondary made them scared to throw.

    My point is basically this. You can coach up stupid players, you can rarely speed up slow players.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  13. ctpatsfan77

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    Why waste a perfectly good keyboard? Why not do it to Felger's or Borges' keyboards, and actually do the world a favor? :D
  14. cstjohn17

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    Phifer was slow as hell but he knew his role. I will take my slow smart players against your fast dumb players any time :)

    Back to the original point, I hope the patriots draft a LB with the necessary athleticism (not the best athleticism) and a strong work ethic. It is highly likely in 2009 the best LB from the 07 draft won't be biggest, fastest or the highest draft pick.
  15. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Do you think the problem may be the word itself, not the concept? It's a nasty string of sounds, if you say it out loud it sort of feels like you're coughing up phlegm. (Or rather, thlegm.)
  16. BPF

    BPF Rookie

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    Harris might not possess elite physical tools but he is a hard working, smart and a very instinctive player who does not make many mistakes. Sounds like a perfect Patriot to me.
  17. BelichickFan

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    But when he's matched up 1-1 on a Dallas Clark or a good RB out of the backfield can he get the job done ? That's what I'm asking.
  18. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Being,smart, willing to study, working hard to develope backpeddle quickness can make up for straight line speed. Read and react skills are most important for the linebacker. It makes him quicker and therefore "faster".

    You can't make someone who is really "slow" that much faster, but Harris is not that "slow".

    From what I've read about Harris and Willis, they both have those qualities that will make them better players in the NFL.
  19. BPF

    BPF Rookie

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    Harris is solid in zone coverage and he makes good reads on the QB although he is not a playmaker in coverage. He reads and reacts well and does a great job of getting into position so I don't feel this will be as big of an issue as some make it out to be. I don't think the Pats will ask him to cover anyone one-on-one. Also on Dallas Clark, the qualities that make him a threat are his quickness off the line, his balance and control in his route running and his recognition skills. He is a savvy player and that's how he creates separation and gets open he doesn't run a 4.3 40.
  20. 14thDragon

    14thDragon Rookie

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    After tommorow you don't have to worry about it any longer.
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