NFL Draft Update: Nic Harris

If the Falcons decide that it's time to move on from Michael Boley after a disappointing season from the fourth-year free agent in 2008, they may have spotted Boley's ideal replacement at the Senior Bowl.

Oklahoma linebacker Nic Harris is, at least on paper, a Boley clone. Virtually the same size (6-2, 233 to Boley's 6-3, 236) and many of the same attributes that made Boley a force on the Falcons defense until injuries and ineffectiveness forced the Falcons to alter his role. Boley went from an every-down ‘backer to a third-down specialist, with Coy Wire picking up the lost reps. To take the next step, the Falcons need more.

Harris is converting to outside linebacker from strong safety, and the transition will not be without its rough spots, but it's possible that the Falcons – one of many teams to talk to Harris at the Senior Bowl – see enough potential to make Harris a mid-round project.'s Ed Thompson caught up with Harris by phone after the Senior Bowl to see how his week went. Harris missed the actual game after tweaking his hamstring during practice week, but as you'll see, he got a lot out of the experience.

Ed Thompson:
So what were your overall impressions of the Senior Bowl week experience?

Nic Harris: It was great, I talked to a lot of teams. It was really challenging to be practicing at the linebacker position. But I think I handled the transition extremely well, going out there and making plays throughout the week and understanding the concept of what it takes to be an NFL-caliber linebacker.

Thompson: What was the most fun you had all week? And what was the most challenging part of the week?

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Harris: The most fun was interacting with the representatives from the teams—being put in the position where you can sit down and let the team see who you really are as a person day to day. The most challenging aspect of it was in the beginning, but as the week progressed it all ended up being fine.

Thompson: Based on your interviews with teams, did you get the impression that most of them are looking at you as a safety or as a linebacker?

Harris: I think the majority of the teams still want me to play safety. I think moving to linebacker was just an experimental process, just to see if I could do it in case I had any inquiries about the position.

Thompson: Tell me more about the decision you had to make last Friday regarding your injury that held you out of the game.

Harris: I had to leave because of a slightly pulled hamstring. I talked with the doctors, and even though it was pretty superficial, they didn't want to chance anything. I came back to get treatment so that I could start my training for Combine. But when I look back on my workouts through the week, I think I had a great week.

Thompson: Where are you doing your training?

Harris: I'll be working out here at WPI in Atlanta. It'll be 100 percent balls-to-the-wall and 100 percent focused on the Combine so that I can put up the numbers that I need to put up.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at You can contact him by email through this link.

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