The Los Angeles Chargers have a wealth of talent at a few positions, and one of those is the linebacker spot.
The team has Melvin Ingram, Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown on the roster while players like Nick Dzubnar, Korey Toomer and Jeremiah Attaochu make for great depth. With the team reverting back to a 4-3 defensive scheme this year under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the position as a whole will see a change this coming season. That includes the possibility that one of the names above will play on the defensive line.
Nigel Harris was brought in as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida, and he is the subject of this installment of our undrafted rookie spotlight.
Harris posted solid numbers in college while playing in 43 career games in four seasons. He posted 231 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He had 27 tackles for loss, three interceptions and six forced fumbles. He was a great defender for the Bulls.
Still, he hardly received a look from an NFL team and wasn’t invited to participate at the annual scouting combine. He ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at his pro day back in March. He also registered 15 bench-press reps of 225 pounds. Only one linebacker who worked out at the combine had less than that, according to results from NFL.com.
His 40-yard dash time shows that he could be quick, but he’s a little undersized and may lack the strength to play linebacker at the professional level. When looking at him, he looks more like a safety than a linebacker. It’ll be interesting to see how the Chargers use him this summer.
Watch the play below from a game this past season against Syracuse. Harris exhibits great play recognition by not biting on the zone-read handoff to the running back. He then holds his grab before coming up to make a play on the quarterback, resulting in a big loss.
Here, he times his blitz perfectly to come up with a key sack against Connecticut.
You can see that Harris certainly has some ability that is worth a look and potentially the kind of ability that is worth investing time in developing.
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I can see potential in Harris, I just believe the Chargers’ roster is already too deep for him to have any shot of making the team. Even earning a spot on the practice squad will be difficult.
This team is going to have some tough choices to make, but I see Harris being cut and left off both the final 53-man roster and the practice squad.