Ryan Harris is Kevin Colbert's free agent signing attempt at replacing Kelvin Beachum. Beachum was a very solid left tackle for Pittsburgh over the years and was too high a valued free agent target for the team to keep.
Harris was able to win a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos as their starting left tackle and went up against a stalwart defensive pass rush in the Carolina Panthers. His contributions to the team aided the offense, but he was not an anchor for their offensive line and his tape shows him not often being able to be strong against edge pass rushers.
This article focuses on Harris' tape in pass protection both in this year's Super Bowl and in games against the Steelers.
vs. James Harrison
Harris often shows the ability to be quick off the ball and get into his position as a tackle. His first step is consistent at being a solid lead to prevent any opponent from getting behind him or having a free path to the quarterback. Here he faces James Harrison and does a solid job of forcing Harrison to engage him and buy time for Brock Osweiler.
vs. Kony Ealy in the Super Bowl
Harris' skill traits do not show him being unable to get to his spot in protection, but rather a lack of strength in controlling opponents once engaged. Most of his tape shows him with a solid first step back that allows him to get a hand on his assignment, but once he gets beyond that stage he does not have the looks of a very good tackle. Ealy is one of the more difficult pass rushers to stop in the NFL, so you might think this is too harsh on Harris, but this trait appears to be consistent across his tape.
vs. Jarvis Jones in pass protection
While Jarvis Jones isn't the lead man on this sack, notice how Harris fails to lock down Jones during the play. Jones is shoved by the tight end into Harris which should make him for an easier assignment. But instead of keeping Jones in control, he lets him work his way around and join Cam Heyward for a key third down sack.
Jones is by no means an elite pass rusher at this point in his career, which may not be a good sign for Harris' future as a tackle if players such as Jones can give him fits. Ealy is a problem which most tackles will struggle against, but Jones is a player whom has struggled to even earn a starting spot in his early years.
Next up: Run Blocking
Harris' pass blocking skills appear to only be partially there. He can consistently get into position to be an obstacle for pass rushers, but his talents show that he has problems when he engages with his hands and tries to finish an assignment. That same issue will also come up in our next article which discusses his run blocking capabilities.