Draft Grade: Round 3-4
Cliff Harris is one of the most explosive players in the 2012 NFL Draft; unfortunately, Harris may be even more explosive off the field.
Harris has been cited for three traffic violations since June, and was officially dismissed from Oregon’s football team in December, having already been on indefinite suspension since late October.
Chances are good that Harris will drop to Day Three of the Draft due to his off-field troubles, but if it were not for his unpredictable antics, he would be a likely first-round pick.
Harris was the nation’s most explosive non-offensive player in his sophomore season in 2010. That year, Harris led the nation with 23 pass defenses, and was the best punt returner in the nation, with an NCAA-leading four punt-return touchdowns.
Explosive really is the perfect description for Harris. He is a tremendously aggressive cornerback; he has great ball skills, is a big-play cornerback, and when the ball ends up in his hands, he is a big threat to score six points.
Consequently, however, Harris is also known to give up frequent big plays, which will likely limit him to being no more than a nickel cornerback in the National Football League.
That said, for a team looking for a play-making nickel cornerback and punt returner, Harris’s immaturity may be worth taking a chance on.
Harris is certainly an explosive, game-changing defensive back who could do big things at the next level if he can keep himself on the field and off the police log.