The Philadelphia Eagles signed a total of 16 players in undrafted free agency. The odds are stacked against them but some of those rookies will have a real chance to make the final 53-man roster. I thought it would be useful to acquire an insider's insight on one of the players: Texas wide receiver John Harris. In order to learn even more about him, I reached out to Texas Longhorns SB Nation blog Burnt Orange Nation. Wescott Eberts was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) What are his strengths?
Harris is one of the best blockers among wide receivers in this draft class. Not only did he consistently give effort there as a senior, he was also immensely successful. But that was only a small part of his success last season -- Harris also went after the football like someone who might not have a chance to ever catch a pass again, so he won a lot of 50-50 balls. Though he's not a burner, he was able to consistently get open on go routes and post routes.
2) What are his weaknesses?
Harris could stand to sharpen up his route-running ability and dropped way too many passes. Capable of making incredible catches, Harris too often wasn't able to convert easier plays.
3) Were you surprised to see him go undrafted?
Not really. Other than his ability to set the edge in the run game, he doesn't really have any elite traits and only produced for one season in college.
4) Pro Football Focus noted Harris has a really good blocking grade. Chip Kelly really values blocking in his receivers. Is that something you noticed while watching him? To what extent is he a good blocker?
No question about it. I imagine that was a reason why Kelly went after Harris as an undrafted free agent and it's one of the biggest reasons why Harris could make the team.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
I think Harris has a chance to make the Eagles team because of his blocking acumen and experience on special teams. Since he probably didn't think he would be in this position a year ago, I think he out-works other players and eventually becomes a No. 4 or No. 5 wide receiver who sticks in the league for a couple years.
Thanks again to Wescott. Make sure to check out Burnt Orange Nation.