Football IQ - Has really turned the corner over his last 18 games or so to become a faster flowing player. Love his reactive quickness as gaps uncover between the tackles. His quick read and reaction can bite him from time to time on trick plays.
Tackling - He's a physical finisher, really good grip strength and wrap/roll ability to wrangle ball carriers. Closing burst is good and he does do a good job coming to balance when working off blocks to ensure he's able to finish challenges in the gap.
Block Shedding - His ability to unload and coil into shedding reps is strong and allows him to stand up offensive linemen and neutralize forward push effectively. Good hand pop — he doesn't have elite length but his unload and coil into blocks offsets well enough for him to stack/extend.
Competitive Toughness - Boomer, plays with a physical presence and thrives when teams try to come down hill at him and play man on man. Appreciate his motor, range and effort to work back into plays as a rally defender and shows good functional strength and leverage to stalemate bigger blockers.
Lateral Mobility - He's smooth in short spaces and when needing to make modest alignment adjustments. Asking him to pivot quickly or mirror one on one in space with shifty backs and he better have leverage on the play or he's going to fight ability to mirror in space.
Coverage Skills - He's only marginal here, executes basic drops well but his anticipation or feel of routes from across the set working into his area needs to improve — he'd have a few picks to his name if this area was more developed. Wouldn't endorse him in man to man coverage role.
Gap Shooting Ability - Has come alive here in 2019 and seen his TFL production take off. Good but not elite first step and now that he's seeing things faster he'll play through late challenges and square up the ball carrier in the backfield. He's got enough burst to win off the second level.
Feet/COD - He doesn't have overly dynamic hinge or spring when you ask him to stick his foot in the ground. Much better with rolling momentum coming downhill to fold behind his DT and exchange gaps. Sideline to sideline range his questionable — he's likely better protected in odd fronts.
Flexibility - He's linear. Doesn't show ability to hinge open and flow as a means of carrying routes across the set, not does he have the burst and range to scrape over the top of plays and go sideline to sideline. Play him between the numbers and you'll be fine.
First Step Quickness - He does have some juice. When he's confident and sees the play developing, he's capable of getting there in a hurry and overtaking blockers and beating angles from the POA. Has some second level blitz abilities to attack on delayed stunts.
Best Trait - Tackling
Worst Trait - Coverage Skills
Best Film - Penn State (2019)
Worst Film - Indiana (2019)
Red Flags - None
Summary - Malik Harrison projects as a starting MIKE at the NFL level, although his impact in the passing game is going to be marginal compared to the value he brings against the run. A physical thumper in down hill situations and does a wonderful job stuffing up blocks and keying opportunities to stack/shed or shoot gaps and attack the mesh point. An early down player for most teams but with more development in zone he could see his snap share raise in time.