Chargers scouting report: Marques Harris

The San Diego Chargers switch to the 3-4 has meant the addition of defensive ends that can move to linebacker. One undrafted free agent, Marques Harris, already has a leg up – moving to linebacker as a senior in college. He still faces an uphill climb on a team stacked with rush linebackers.

"With the 3-4, there are more opportunities for linebackers," Harris admitted.

That played a factor into his decision in choosing the Chargers as his destination for summer camp.

Harris, who graduated from Colorado in December of 2003, requested his release from the program in the spring of 2004. He transferred to Southern Utah, was granted a medical redshirt and was moved to weakside linebacker where he paced the club with 11 sacks, 25 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The former lineman broke two bones in his left leg in 2003, costing him all but two games. His transfer to Southern Utah was made to escape past off the field problems and improve his chances of making the NFL – preferably at linebacker. He got tat chance this past season and the Chargers took notice.

He has experience playing against big time competition as a member of Colorado and earned All-Conference honors as a senior after his transfer. A move to linebacker as a senior may have helped him hit his groove and because he has just one year of experience at the position, is viewed as a player with upside.

The 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker will face some heavy competition. Those seeking a roster spot, or at least a spot on the practice squad, include undrafted free agents Justin Burks and Jonathan Pollard, and Howard Hodges, who made the team as an undrafted free agent a year ago.

Although he benefits from having just one year under his belt at linebacker, he may face some trouble making the team with so many "rush" linebackers ahead of him. Having better pass defense skills than his three passes defensed as a senior indicate would help him in his pursuit of making the team.

Scouting report furnished by TFY Draft Preview:

Marques Harris School: Southern Utah
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 231 40: 4.84 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Former Colorado transfer that totaled 68/25/11 as a senior on his way to winning All-Conference honors. Sat out the 2003 season with a broken leg but previously a top pass- rushing defensive end in the Big 12.

Positives: Athletic, explosive defender who makes a lot of plays up the field. Breaks down well playing with leverage, effectively uses his hands to stay off blocks and displays good footwork moving in all directions. Runs downfield with tight ends in coverage, makes plays in all directions and rarely off his feet.

Negatives: Slow to shed once engaged in a block and even held up by opposing tight ends. Used in the box and slow locating the ball in pass coverage. Tackles a bit high. Has had character issues in the past.

Analysis: A solid athlete and good football player whose off-the-field issues have slowed his development, Harris may have finally hit his stride last season. Switching from a three- point stance to a linebacker position, he did well his first year playing in space and displays good upside potential. A solid weak-side linebacker prospect who must iron out the rough edges of his game as well as keep his focus on the football field.

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