Packers running back DuJuan Harris has been getting a lot of attention lately.
Here’s what Packers coach Mike McCarthy recently said about him:
“Oh, he’s going to play for us next season. That’s his responsibility if wants to be the starter….I wish we would have had DuJuan earlier. He was a young man that we were just getting ready to try to put in the game. Everybody’s like ‘Just put him in there.’”
Cheesehead TV co-founder and senior NFL video producer at Bleacher Report Aaron Nagler recently Tweeted this about Harris:
“Watching DuJuan Harris run the football is one of my favorite things.”
Tyler Dunne had a feature story on Harris at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Here’s an excerpt:
“The second-year pro from Troy finished as the Packers’ top back, rushing for 257 yards on 62 carries with four scores in six games. This off-season – as outside pressure mounts for Green Bay to land a bigger, durable, every-down back – Harris has hit the mute button.”
So, is Harris for real? Could a 5-foot-7 dude plucked from an auto dealership halfway through last season really be the Packers answer at running back?
Let’s look at why Harris might be the real deal, and why he might be just another flavor of the month.
- Have you seen the guy run? Holy cow! Quick. Decisive. Explosive. Good vision. Strong. Moves forward. Packs a punch. Physical. You ask yourself why a guy like him was selling cars instead of ramming into NFL defenders.
- His attitude. Go read that entire story from Dunne again. Harris sounds like a great guy who knows how the NFL operates and is ready to fight like hell for a starting job.
- Who else is there? Sure, I suppose the Packers could draft a running back early, but do we really think Ted Thompson would spend a first-rounder on a running back? Never say never, but odds are the competition at running back will be between James Starks (yawn), Alex Green (yawn again), a lower-round pick (yawn some more) and Harris.
Flavor of the Month
- We’ve seen this before. Packers fans are so desperate for a good running back that we latch onto whatever we can. Starks looked like the real deal for a while. That seems like ages ago now. Green showed momentary signs of life. Then he flamed out. If you want to go further back in history, we can talk about Vernand Morency, Samkon Gado and Darick Holmes. Harris might be just another in a long line of the “The Next Big Thing” for Packers running backs.
- He’s small. McCarthy has expressed a desire to have a back that can handle all three downs. You don’t see many 5-foot-7 running backs get the bulk of carries and hold up over a full season.
- Small sample size. Throw any fresh running back into the end of an NFL season and he’ll have some success running against worn-down and injured defenses. Good luck doing it for 16 games when the running back is also worn down and battling injuries.
Harris deserves a shot. Yeah, he’s short, but who cares? The guy is built. He’s 214 pounds. I think he can hold up.
If Harris does wash out, it would probably be because of pass-blocking struggles, not his size.
The Packers have talked a lot about getting tougher. To me, Harris epitomizes toughness in how he runs and how he carries himself. He’s not a guy I’d want to get in front of after he makes a cut or turns a corner.
I’m not predicting greatness for Harris, but I am predicting that he’ll turn some heads. Don’t write this kid off just because he’s short.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .