a couple of posts here got me thinking. harris is a good nickel. phenomenal, really, considering he's a rookie undrafted free agent. but there seems to be a feeling that he may not develop into a good number two corner. and that sorta got me scratching my head, it got me to thinking about what it is that makes for a good corner, a great corner, and a nickel. so understand that this is no dissertation; i'm not lecturing. i'm just thinking out loud, and i invite comments and clarification -- which really is the beauty of mhr.
so; cornerbacks. the blazing fast acrobats of the football world. what do you want in a corner? you want speed, fluid hips to transition from backpedaling to inline coverage. you want a burst to recover, to close. good body control to get into the ball's trajectory, or at least muddy the receiver's line of sight,without touching him. pretty much, they have to do everything the receiver does, but they do the first half of it backwards and the second half not knowing where the ball is. tackling? sure. everybody likes a good tackler. but really, your prima donna shut down guys play ole defense as often as not. they make their livings breaking up balls, not so much bringing guys down. nobody likes it, but everyone knows it; corners are often the crappiest tacklers on the team. which is just another reason to love champ.
so what, then, makes a good nickel? they're sort of lb/corner hybrids. on pass plays, they cover. their man goes in motion, they go with him. but by default (only 2 lbs) on running plays they end up with gap responsibilities. they've got to hit and they've got to tackle. deion sanders wouldn't have gotten too far as a nickel.
so why shouldn't harris predictably grow into a starter? he's a tackler, for sure. his speed ain't bad, and although he's not all that big, he's pretty danged technically sound. if anything, i wouldn't have pegged him for a good nickel, just due to his size. so what am i missing? are there obvious deficits in his game that i'm just not seeing, deficits that will keep him from ever starting? what say you all? edjimucate me.