Alabama football’s Christian Harris was selected by the Houston Texans in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Texans traded up with the Broncos for the 75th overall pick.
He’s the 17th linebacker to be selected in the draft during Nick Saban’s 15 years coaching the Crimson Tide, including inside and outside linebackers.
He’s a Baton Rouge, Louisiana native, right in LSU’s backyard. But the Tigers wanted him to play h-back. Instead, Harris went to Alabama and became a three-year starter. Harris declared for the draft after his junior year.
“Christian has played well for us this year,” Saban said in November. “I think that he’s been a very, very good player. He’s very athletic. I think he has improved dramatically from a year ago to this year and continues to make that kind of progress. He’s had a really good attitude about what he has tried to accomplish and what he is trying to do this year.”
Here’s what Harris will bring to the NFL.
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Harris can do whatever a defense asks of him.
He has the ability to blitz, cover and run sideline to sideline. Harris brings impressive athleticism to his game, which stems back to when he was a defensive back in high school. Alabama converted him to a linebacker and he thrived.
He has the speed to play with tight ends, slot receivers and running backs — Harris ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
In the process, he finished with 79 total tackles each of the past two seasons. Harris also tallied 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups in 2021.
Harris needs to be more consistent in his game. Look no further than the College Football Playoff Championship.
Harris made splash plays with seven tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble against Georgia. But he also failed to make some tackles. Pro Football Focus charted him as missing five, his highest total of the season.
“I think Christian Harris has all the talent to be a scheme-diverse, three-down linebacker in the NFL,” The Athletic’s Dane Brugler told The Tuscaloosa News. “It’s just all about putting it all together and being more consistent with the key to read, as a finsiher, the little things that separate the good from the great linebcakers. I think he just needs to become a little more detail oriented.”
Harris is far from a finished product, but he has plenty of physical tools and smarts with which his new team can work. If he can find more consistency in his game, Harris has the potential to be a reliable starter in the not-so-distant future.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Houston Texans take Alabama’s Christian Harris in 2022 NFL Draft