As one NFL season ends, the next is set to begin with the NFL Draft on the horizon. In our latest installment of scouting reports to help guide your fantasy football team, we look at South Carolina RB Kevin Harris. What are Harris’ strengths and weaknesses, which teams could be potential landing spots for him in the NFL Draft, and what is his fantasy outlook?
Kevin Harris NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: South Carolina
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 220
- Wingspan: N/A
- Arm: N/A
- Hand: N/A
Kevin Harris’ fantasy football scouting report
It’s hard to be an optimist when you go into a new season. You look at players through rose-tinted glasses and believe they will take the next step in their evolution. Two guys fit the bill for me last year in this category. One was Oklahoma transfer, Eric Gray, and the other was Harris. Unfortunately, neither helped their draft stock. Actually, they dropped, if anything.
Harris was a breakout RB in 2020. A bruising, powerful back, Harris was second in the SEC in rushing with 1,138 yards and 15 TDs on 185 attempts. Despite being what you would call an angry rusher, Harris showed a surprising amount of elusiveness. I’d consider him to have NFL-average levels of between-the-tackles and open-field agility.
It’s not his calling card to make a defender miss in a phone booth. He uses his shoulder for that. When my film grading was over on Harris, his principal characteristics are the ones you would expect for a 220-pound RB — contact balance, physicality, and tackle-breaking ability.
Averaging 1.84 YPTP (yards per team play), Harris boosted his value by adding 21 receptions — albeit for only 159 yards and a single TD. Add in five games of over 100 yards and games of 243 and 210 against LSU and Kentucky, respectively, and you can see why people were excited for him to take the next step. Unfortunately, that never happened.
Harris watched his draft stock fall in 2021
Despite his previous success, Harris was unable to capitalize. Splitting a backfield with Zaquandre White, Harris rushed 152 times for just 658 yards and 4 TDs in 2021. Going from 6.2 yards per carry to 4.3 is a substantial regression.
It also highlights one of Harris’ main drawbacks. He’s not a gashing, home-run-style rusher. Don’t get me wrong, there are examples of them, one being against LSU in 2020. However, I didn’t necessarily grade it as a “plus play.” The reasoning being is because it was so well blocked and poorly defended by LSU, I would expect any starting-caliber SEC RB to do the exact same thing. Harris didn’t cause it to happen. He just took advantage.
That’s one of my overall thoughts on Harris. He doesn’t make a ton of things happen outside of the play’s construction. He does a solid job of maximizing per touch, but beyond that, can leave a bit to be desired. Harris has adequate vision, but nothing I feel is worth writing home about.
The same applies to his burst. He gets through well-formed holes but is not a player you want jump-cutting or trying to slow play the run. Harris is at his best when he plants his foot and goes. So long as it is North and South, not laterally.
Harris needs to show improvement with his hands at the NFL Combine
Receiving volume will be a concern as he moves into the NFL. Harris was an afterthought as a receiver. Aside from flat routes or the rare angle, Harris lacks creativity in the passing game. Another concern are his hands in general.
Of his 48 catchable targets, Harris has 7 drops. While he was not invited to any of the showcase bowl games like the Shrine Bowl, Harris has been invited to the NFL Combine. It will be pivotal for him to test well and also nail the receiving portion of his testing. Harris must show improvement in this area.
For fantasy, receiving volume is massive — being able to catch and be trusted in the offense to be moved around. This is what I feel will hold Harris back from a fantasy and even NFL aspect. He’s a powerful back on the ground, but in several of the base traits, Harris is more average than not. That’s not really moving the needle.
He’s got some upside, but he more than likely projects as a backup in the NFL with some upside. I doubt Harris receives more than fifth-round NFL Draft consideration, and he’ll be taken in the late third/fourth round of fantasy rookie drafts. Late in drafts, I don’t mind this as a dart throw pick you hope develops into something.
Potential landing spots for Harris
With the NFL Draft closing in, which teams make the most sense for Harris as projected landing spots? Based on his scouting report, fantasy managers should keep their eye on these franchises come draft day.
The Eagles are fully committed to a committee approach. They’re also committed to the run as the back half of last season told us. From Week 9 on, no team in the NFL ran more than Philly at 58%. The league average was 43% over this time. It got them to a playoff berth, so why change things up?
The question is, who will be a part of that committee next season? While Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell will be around, Jordan Howard and Boston Scott are set to become free agents.
In terms of roles on this team, that leaves a void in the power/short-yardage game. That’s where someone like Harris makes sense.
He showed a nose for the end zone during his sophomore breakout season. Harris is rather scheme-versatile, with usage in gap and zone concepts. While it might be frustrating from a fantasy standpoint, Harris to the Eagles could be a logical landing spot given the draft capital needed to acquire him.
Houston needs help in the backfield, and, well…everywhere else. Whether it’s Deshaun Watson, Davis Mills, or someone else at QB, a reliable rushing game is critical for offensive balance. After a season of David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, and Rex Burkhead, only Burkhead remains on the roster.
Given Burkhead’s capabilities in the receiving game as a jack-of-all-trades RB, Harris can be the power in a 1-2 punch. The Texans would undoubtedly bring in other guys, but there isn’t another room more wide open for an RB to step in and find reps. I doubt he would be the sole addition, but in a rotation for first and second down (plus goal-line usage), Harris would have a chance to increase his value in Houston.
What is the Cardinals’ backfield going to look like in 2022? James Conner was on a one-year contract and set to become a free agent, as is Chase Edmonds. Together, they represented 318 of the 361 attempts by Cardinals running backs last year. Arizona could bring Harris in for depth at the position as a way to round out the position.
I’d be willing to bet at least one of Conner or Edmonds will be back. However, they may not invest in both backs from a salary cap perspective.
While it is increasing, the Cardinals still have to pay Kyler Murray soon and address their 27 total free agents, including Chandler Jones, Zach Ertz, and Christian Kirk.
Both Edmonds and Conner can work in the rushing or receiving game, leaving someone like Harris as the bruising, short-yardage RB. He’s not a lead back, but as a No. 2 in Arizona, there are few landing spots, if any, which are better for Harris.