Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #8 – Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Derrick Harvey (via Baltimore Ravens)

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Jacksonville Jaguars moved up from the 26th spot via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens almost the instant that the last pick was made. For whatever reason, though, they’re taking their sweet time making a pick. Are they trying to trade down?

The Jags take Florida DE Derrick Harvey, which everyone seems to think is a huge reach.

Scouts, Inc.: 11th

Strengths: Is tall and well built with very long arms (35.4 inches) and big hands (9.3 inches). Has a quick first step for his size and can beat most blocker to the point of attack. He hugs the rail tightly as a pass rusher and wastes very little motion getting to the quarterback. Runs line stunts well and flashes an effective rip move when shoots inside. Changes directions well, flashes an effective spin move and can set tackles up to the outside before redirecting inside. Has a mean streak and flashes the ability to deliver the big hit when gets to the quarterback. Keeps head up, times jumps well and can get hands on passes when doesn’t get to the quarterback. Shows good awareness and locates the ball quickly. Moves well laterally and does a nice job of scraping down the line of scrimmage. Stays home when plays goes away from him and generally does a nice job of setting the edge when opponents attack the perimeter to his side. Takes sound pursuit angles, closes down cutback lanes and has sideline-to-sideline range. Plays under control in space, wraps up upon contact and is a reliable open field tackler. While doesn’t have much experience dropping into coverage, is quick and athletic enough to hold own in zone coverage once he gains experience in this area.

Weaknesses: Is quicker than fast. Shows good initial burst but lacks elite closing quickness as a pass rusher. Though tough, he lacks ideal lower body strength, doesn’t always stay low to the ground and struggles to anchor when teams run at him. Can deliver a power punch at times but doesn’t always use hands well and takes too long to long to shed blocks when gets reached. Relies on quickness too much and occasionally tries to sidestep blocks rather than stacking them up. Doesn’t protect legs all that well and is vulnerable to cut blocks. Appears to pull up when blockers are able to get into position and effort is inconsistent.

Overall: Florida red-shirted Harvey in 2004 and he appeared in nine games of the 2005 season. Harvey stated all 14 games of the 2006 season and recorded 11 sacks that year. He started all 13 games of the 2007 season recording 32 total tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss, 4.5 quarterback sacks and three quarterback-hurries. Harvey lacks ideal top-end speed and he also needs to improve his lower-body strength in order to take on bigger NFL blockers in the run game. While he is not quite as explosive as former Gator line-mate Jarvis Moss (Broncos), Harvey is a more complete player at this point. He possesses very good initial burst and athletic ability for his size. We think Harvey can develop into a good every-down starter in a 4-3 scheme at the next level, which is why we give him a slightly higher grade than the one we gave a year ago to Moss, who was selected 17th overall.

Rick Gosselin:13th

Mel Kiper: 23rd

A battle-tested SEC veteran with that quick twitch you look for in a pass-rusher. Harvey started slowly in 2007, but came on in the latter half of the season, finishing with 8½ sacks and 17 tackles for loss.

It’ll depend somewhat on what the Jags gave away to move up but it does seem that they moved up too high for Harvey. Then again, there’s been a run on defensive linemen and they must have felt it worth the cost.

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