NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Alabama S Ronnie Harrison

From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a several others will be top-ranked players at their positions. If there is a player you would like us to breakdown and profile in the coming weeks and months, let us know in the comments below.

#15 Ronnie Harrison/S Alabama – 6’0/3, 215

The Good

– Very good size
– Hard hitter
– Has shown a strong ability to cover opposing teams’ #1 tight ends
– Incredible amount of athleticism
– Had success on special teams
– Very good against the run
– Does a decent job reading the quarterback
– Elite athleticism

The Bad

– Shows mental lapses occasionally
– Anticipates too much at times and gets beat
– Improper tackling form at times sometimes leading to missed tackles. Likes to lead with his shoulder instead of wrapping up offensive players.
– Wasn’t as consistent as a starting NFL safety should be
– Needs to be more patient at times.


– 2015 season: Had 17 tackles and 1 sack. Was second on the Alabama with 2 interceptions. Also forced a fumble.
– 2016 season:  2nd on the team in tackles with 87. Had two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, two defensive touchdowns and a blocked fielded on the season.
– 2017 season: Led the team in tackles (72). Second on Alabama with 3 interceptions. Had 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
– AP first team All-SEC, Sports Illustrated second team All-American in 2017.

Tape Breakdown

Harrison, who was picked by the Steelers in a recent mock draft, is one of the best safeties in the 2018 draft class. His ability to read the play and react with instincts is what impressed me the most when watching him. He can play deep and use his speed to get to the line in a hurry or play shallow and recover in enough time to defend the pass. His anticipation has gotten him in trouble at times, but more often than not, he has trusted his instincts and been right. His athleticism will allow him to fit into almost any defensive scheme in the NFL. Keeping Harrison 15 yards from the line of scrimmage at all times isn’t wise considering he has a knack for recognizing the run.

Below, Harrison is about 10 yards off of the line, but reads the run almost immediately. He shoots forward and assists with making the tackle.

A few plays later, Colorado State tries getting Alabama to bite on a play action. Harrison stays back, reads the quarterback’s eyes and ends up coming down with an interception.

Clemson is a much better team than Colorado State. We see here below that, even though Harrison is playing 15+ yards off of the line of scrimmage, he reads the run option and explodes forward. He is the first defensive player to make contact with the quarterback. He misses the tackle, which I will touch on in a bit, but his explosiveness and instincts are showcased.

When Harrison plays deep in a zone scheme, he reacts quickly to the play. Against Arkansas in 2016, he notices a receiver wide open in the middle of the field and attacks as he reads that the quarterback is about to throw it to the open receiver. He does not leave too early, however, as he knows his main responsibility is to not let anyone behind him.

Harrison has occasionally struggled tackling throughout his career as was shown above. He has certainly delivered some big hits and come up with big plays, but missed tackles are something that cannot happen at the next level if he wants to be successful.

He takes the wrong angle and misses a tackle here as well.

And again. He fails to wrap up and leads with his shoulder.

Projection: Late Day 1

Games Watched: College Football Playoff Semifinal vs Clemson (2018), National Championship vs Georgia (2018), vs Colorado State (2017), vs Arkansas (2016)

Previous 2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Sam Darnold Garret Dooley Calvin Ridley Fred Warner Ronald Jones II
Maurice Hurst Mike McCray DeShon Elliott  Malik Jefferson Ogbo Okoronkwo
Trayvon Henderson Josh Rosen
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