Talented DT Has Pros and Cons

The Colts are taking a look at a run-stopping defensive tackle who seems to be made from the same mold of a current starter. And although he may be even more talented, there is a risk involved as well. Brad Keller has the details inside.

Arkansas defensive tackle Marcus Harrison could be referred to as Mr. Teflon.

He has the red flags of questionable character and an injury history, but neither seem to have had an adverse effect on his playing time or performance.

After a surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee last spring, he was able to step right back into the lineup and contribute in his regular disruptive style.

Although he was suspended indefinitely after being arrested on felony drug charges and misdemeanor traffic charges, he ended up missing only the season opener in 2007 after the charges were subsequently dropped.

In that respect, he is very much like current starter Ed Johnson, with character concerns swirling around him leading up to the draft. Where he separates himself from Johnson, though, is in his ability.

He is currently the fourth-rated defensive tackle by Scout.com and is a tremendously gifted athlete and run stopper.

He is slightly bigger than Johnson at 6 feet, 2 3/4 inches and 317 pounds and may need to shed a little weight in order to play the tackle position opposite Raheem Brock, or as part of the rotation to give Johnson a breather in passing situations.


Marcus Harrison
AP Photo/Beth Hall

Harrison shows excellent pad level and leverage at the point of attack when taking on blocks and has the strength, power, and body control to dominate the line of scrimmage at times.

He has a fairly explosive first step, but not at the level of Brock, though he certainly is a more accomplished pass rusher than Johnson was coming out of college.

Although he has a very limited pass rush repertoire — power moves only — he would certainly be the man the Colts would turn to in a third and long situation, assuming that Brock was able to stay inside, which would mean that Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were healthy and playing their respective end positions.

As an athlete with an existing skill set and college production — even though he played tackle, which is not a glory position in the Arkansas scheme, he still managed to score a touchdown on a fumble recovery and compile 111 tackles, three sacks, 12 tackles for loss, nine passes defended, and 12 quarterback hurries — Harrison has few peers outside of top prospects Sedrick Ellis and Glenn Dorsey.

But his character issues and past injury history do leave something to be desired.

He's a second round talent with a number of red flags that, while they did not hamper his ability to suit up and play in college, may become an issue at the NFL level.

Depending on how teams feel about the baggage that he brings along with him, he could be drafted anywhere from the second to fifth rounds.  Since he has more potential and a more accomplished collegiate resume than Johnson, he will not go undrafted this April, but a number of teams may stay away.

Since Anthony McFarland was released and Dan Klecko signed with Philadelphia, there is an opening in the tackle rotation that Harrison could fill.

But, with Darrell Reid and Quinn Pitcock in the mix as well, the Colts may be better off going with a safer prospect such as Virginia Tech's Carlton Powell unless Harrison does, in fact, slip to the fifth round and severely mitigate the risk that Indianapolis would take by drafting him.


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