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Eagles All-22 Film Review: What to make of Anthony Harris

Not as bad as some may have previously thought?

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The last few weeks, I have looked at Marcus Epps film and Jaquiski Tartt film so I thought I should look at the other likely starting safety, Anthony Harris. Being totally honest, I thought he was pretty terrible last year and wasn’t expecting much at all from this. But I actually think he was OK and I’ll explain why below!

Stats

All stats are from PFF and only includes players who played 20% of the snaps. This means there are 98 players.

- 61.6 PFF grade, ranks 60th.

- 845 total snaps. 324 in the box, 139 over the slot, 362 at safety.

- 54 tackles, ranks 41st.

- 7 missed tackles, ranks 50th.

- 8.8% missed tackles, ranks 73rd (which is good)

- 19 ‘stops’, ranks 28th.

- Allowed 26 catches from 40 targets for 216 yards. The yards rank 60th.

- Allowed 8.3 yards per reception, which ranks 89th. Tartt was 93rd on this. Although this is great, you can’t help but feel the way these two players were used and who they were asked to cover makes the numbers slightly skewed.

Strengths

+ Versatile, can fit the modern NFL and play both free and strong safety. Can play deep safety (mainly as a split-safety) or do a very good job in the box

+ Good size and frame for a safety and is very solid in run support. Can take on tight ends and wide receivers and still make a play on the ball carrier.

+ When he hits the ball carrier, he can stop their momentum due to his size and frame and stop them from falling forward on contact

+ Physical and can lay some big hits coming from deep.

+ Reads the game pretty well in zone coverage and can jump in front of receivers. 6 interceptions in 2019 not a complete fluke.

+ Can handle late safety rotation and disguises in coverage

+ You can see his experience and instincts at time. Reads the game well for the most part.

+ He was very reliable with the Vikings when I watched him last year. He wasn’t this past year but it was his first year for a new team so you have to cut him a little bit of slack.

Weaknesses

- Not the greatest athlete, struggles to redirect after a poor step. Can lead to problems in coverage too as he is pretty tight hipped.

- Struggles with open field tackling when in space due to limited athleticism and speed.

- Seemed to be around problems last year. Harsh to blame him for all of them, but things seemed to go wrong when he was involved.

Overall

Last week, I referenced my safety categories for the first time! Which said the following...

1. Elite player who makes the team significantly better.

2. Good starter, who doesn’t make huge errors and does what is needed.

3. A weak starter who needs replacing.

I said Epps was a clear 2 and I think Harris is slightly below a 2. However, I feel better after watching him in more detail last year than I thought I would. Watching him throughout the season, I really did not think he played well and was pretty shocked that the Eagles brought him back and let Rodney McLeod go, who I thought was far better.

After a rewatch, I don’t think Harris was as bad as I thought. However, it is very clear when studying him that he is athletically limited and simply cannot handle man coverage or being isolated in zone coverage. If you keep him in a split safety look with corners on his outside, he is more than capable of handling his zone assignments and is rarely in the wrong place or makes a huge error. His biggest issue is just his straight up lack of athleticism and tight hips, he can’t stay with fast receivers or tight ends in coverage.

I certainly underrated his ability in run support last year, however. He was really good against the run. His tackling is excellent and he has the strength to knock back running backs so they don’t pick up extra yards. He has the strength to fight through tight ends and receivers who attempt to block him and he can lay some pretty physical hits too.

Personally, I think Tartt is very similar to Harris but a better athlete which means you can do slightly more with him in coverage. I would expect Tartt and Epps to start but I think Harris will absolutely be used and will have a role to play in this defense next year. His tape was better than I thought, and he wasn’t the huge liability that I expected to see.

Overall, I am OK with the Eagles safety room, but I don’t see a way that Harris/Tartt can play as a duo for long considering their skill sets so I would be pretty concerned if Epps was to miss any time next year.