With the twenty-third pick in the 2011 BGN Mock Draft, Route36 selects...
Brandon Harris - CB, Maimi
Combine measurements - 5'10" 191 lbs - 4.53 40 yard dash - 35.5" vertical - 9'05" broad jump - 4.12 twenty yard shuttle - 6.88 3-cone drill.
Ahem(cough), I felt we uh...needed to address one of the two major weaknesses on our football team in the first round. That would be the cornerback and guard/tackle positions. We had a first round grade on Brandon and I felt we got a tremendous player at good value here. We had him ranked as the 4th best corner behind Peterson, Amukamara, and Smith. According to JimmyK's aggregated big boards from various draft-niks, Harris was ranked as the 26th best player in the draft. We felt there was a significant talent drop between him and the guys that might be available for our second round selection. We got a great player that filled a need. Before I get into detail about Harris, I want to explain why we didn't pick an offensive lineman here.
(Clears throat and takes a deep breath)....We had an opportunity to grab Solder or Carimi here who are both versatile and skilled linemen but we like Winston as our starting right tackle. He hit a little bit of a rough patch towards the end of the season there because of that knee injury. He is rehabbing that knee and will be ready to go next season. I also have incredible faith in Howard Mudd and what he does with his linemen. If you look at his tenure in Indy, they have never selected an offensive lineman in the first round. Other than Tony Ugoh and Mike Pollak who were second rounders in 07 and 08 respectively, the rest of their starting linemen were all selected in the third round or later. He turned an undrafted Jeff Saturday into multiple All-Pro selections.
More after the jump...
In 1997, the Colts O-line without Mudd consisted of Adam Meadows, Doug Middell, Jay Leeewenberg, Tarik Glenn, Tony Mandarich. They gave up 62 sacks.
In 1998, Mudd's first year as their line coach and the same offensive line as the previous year except substitute Steve Mckinney in place of Middell at LG...cough...they gave up just 22 sacks. Peyton was an undeveloped rookie that year so you can't give him much credit for that turnaround. In Mudd's 12 seasons there, the Colts allowed just 218 sacks in 182 games, by far the fewest in the NFL during that span. (Takes deep breath).
We feel that he could do similar things here for us and vastly improve this offensive line with coaching alone. We are also getting Jamaal back which would allow us to move McGlynn to guard if needed so that gives us some flexibility there. This offensive line group is also pretty deep in this draft. We could get guys like Marcus Cannon, Rodney Hudson, Danny Watkins, or Clint Boling to play guard for us in rounds two or later. Ben Ijalana is a guy we might move up for to play tackle or guard. Marcus Gilbert and James Brewer are versatile linemen we can get in the later rounds. So, I think we will be okay there.
Ahem(cough). As for picking a cornerback, I felt that was our weakest position on the team last year. I think it contributed greatly to our porous red-zone defense and points per game allowed. Ellis was doing a great job for us before he got injured in the Tennessee game. His first 5 starts before the Titans game, the defense allowed 20 points per game. From the Colts game in week 9 to the Minnesota game in week 16, the defense allowed 25.75 points per game. I know there are various factors that might have caused that change but I assure you the cornerback play was a big part of the problem. Dimitri, even though he tried his best, did not get the job done. He was targeted 77 times, gave up 44 completions for 620 yards and 5 touchdowns. Uh...that's not acceptable. (Takes deep breath)
Enter Brandon Harris. This kid is a player. Man, after watching his film, it's hard not to like him. His instincts are second to none. His excellent ball skills evidenced by his 27 pass breakups the last two years, quick feet, loose hips, good balance and speed enables him to be great in man coverage. He displayed those qualities in the on-field drills at the combine. His performance in every drill was flawless, prompting rave reviews from Mike Mayock and Deion Sanders himself. He has an incredible burst when closing or recovering which helps him in zone. He recognizes the run quickly and is not afraid to get in there, make the tackle and make sure the ball carrier gets down. His work ethic and passion for the game are also phenomenal. He was quoted saying that he and his classmates should dedicate their 2010 season to head coach Randy Shannon, that they were largely to blame for their inconsistency. That's the type of leadership qualities we look for in a player.
(Clears throat)...His accolades include an All-ACC First team and second team selection in 2009 and 2010. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award twice for the nation's top defensive back. He also made the 2008 All-Academic team showing he is smart and has a good head on his shoulders. He is just a complete player. Some people want to knock on him because of his size. I tell those people to check out old or current film of Brandon Flowers, Ronde Barber, Devin McCourty, Sheldon Brown, Terence Newman, Brent Grimes or Cortland Finnegan who are all 5'10" or shorter. When you can time your leaps right with a 35 inch vertical which Brandon does, you can cover anyone. I believe Brandon will make an enormous impact on our defense since day one with the coaching of Johnnie Lynn and Juan Castillo.
Next on the clock will be Shady is an Eagle! with the New Orleans Saints.
Previous Picks: 1 - Nick Fairley 2 - Patrick Peterson 3 - Blaine Gabbert 4 - Cam Newton 5 - Von Miller 6 - Marcell Dareus 7 - Prince Amukamara 8 - A.J. Green 9 - Da'Quan Bowers 10 - Corey Liuget 11 - Robert Quinn 12 - Julio Jones 13 - Tyron Smith 14 - Jimmy Smith 15 - Mark Ingram 16 - Cameron Jordan 17 - Ryan Kerrigan 18 -