Texans second-year CB Brandon Harris, whom the club traded back into the second round to draft in 2011, was a bit of a forgotten man last season. But despite his current third-string standing on the team’s depth chart, Harris has made great strides this summer.
After playing mostly inside at the University of Miami and being drafted as a nickel corner, the heady Harris responded very well to a move outside in camp. He remains behind former Cowboy Alan Ball on the depth chart — a surprise to our sources, as Ball was virtually invisible throughout most of the summer — but Harris looks much more comfortable than he did as a rookie. One source called Harris the most improved Texans defender.
He always will have size and speed limitations, but the Texans remain high on Harris’ potential. He was originally drafted because of nickel back Brice McCain’s struggles in ’10, when his confidence was rattled by former DBs coach David Gibbs. McCain thrived in ‘11 under the tutelage of Gibbs’ replacement, Vance Joseph, but he is a free agent at season’s end who isn’t a lock to be back.
Then there is maligned starter Kareem Jackson, who still struggles to turn for the football. With Jackson’s 2011 platoon mate Jason Allen gone to Cincinnati, Harris and Ball could loom large if Jackson can’t fill the bill.