While Dwayne Harris is listed as a wide receiver, he has basically only contributed on special teams during his 7 year career. Harris is a returner who is also a gunner and should fill the void that was left behind when the Raiders traded Cordarrelle Patterson to the Patriots.
Even prior to Harris’s signing with the Raiders I admired Harris’s game. But not everyone is familiar with him so I decided to take the film dive for a more in-depth look at what Raiders fans can expect.
Harris appeared in 6 with the Giants last season before landing on injured reserve, so to make sure I got a full snapshot of his contributions I used some film from the 2016 season as well.
Kick Coverage Ace
Dwayne Harris puts guys on skates. He has the quickness and acceleration to give even the better special teams units a headache. He beat single coverage early in games and would almost always draw a double team by the end of the game.
No slouch when it comes to finishing the play, Harris can literally muscle his way past double teams and will make the extra effort for a tackle. He might not be as big, fast, or strong as Patterson, but he doesn’t leave much to be desired as a special teams coverage ace.
There’s no real way to sugar coat this Raider Nation; Dwayne Harris is NOT the same caliber returner as Patterson. He always seems to make the first man miss but I fear that’s about all he’s capable of considering year 8 is pretty old for a returner. Harris can make tacklers miss in a phone booth and make some of the most impressive 1 or 2 yard punt returns you’ve ever seen, but that’s all they are at the end of the day.
You’d have to go back to 2015 to see him take one to the house. He had an 80-yard punt return for a TD and a 100-yard kick return for a TD that year. But since then he’s failed to gain longer than a 17-yard punt return in a healthy season and a half.
Harris still has strength and quickness, and I don’t see him making costly mistakes. So as far as a CP replacement goes, Reggie could have done worse. But there’s an arguement to be made that Harris + a move into the 5th Round + $3.25 Million saved against the cap may be better than just Cordarelle Patterson. But I’m willing to hear the other end of that argument considering CP was my favorite Raider last season.
Here’s hoping special teams coach Rich Bisaccia can get Harris better blocking to help him break loose. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders draft WR’s and CB’s who can return kicks to get some more competition at that position.