Last year's NFL Draft was a source of pride for Virginia Tech fans. Eight Hokies were drafted, tying Tech for the most players selected with USC.
The script will be flipped for the Hokies in 2009. Cornerback Macho Harris is expected to be the only Tech player to be selected in the first three rounds and could be the only Hokie selected at all. But that doesn't mean they aren't sending quality talent to the NFL.
Make no mistake about it. The team that drafts Macho Harris this weekend will be very happy it did so.
Harris lacks the measurable qualities that make other cornerbacks sexier picks in this year's draft. His height and 40-time definitely leave something to be desired. But all he did during his career at Virginia Tech was make plays.
His instincts were second to none during his three years as a starting cornerback for the Hokies. Tech's secondary has been an assembly line of quality college cornerbacks and Harris was the best. He had a nose for the ball, made a ton of big hits and was the leader of the defense.
Tech's secondary coach, Torrian Gray told the Washington Post earlier this week Harris' abilities were best seen on film, not on a stopwatch.
"A playmaker, instinctive. He'll make money plays for you," Gray said. "They get caught up in the measurables all the time -- how fast you run the 40, this and that -- but Macho's a guy who can make game-changing plays. He has a certain mentality about himself where he knows he could be a difference-maker."
Where He'll Land
The various mock drafts are all over the board on where Harris will go this weekend. Mocking the Draft has him going the highest at No. 64 in the 2nd round to the Steelers.
Scott Wright of Draft Countdown has him going in the 3rd round at No. 81 to the Buccaneers. The hatable Todd McShay of ESPN was the least kind to Macho, placing him in the 4th round at No. 106 to the Bengals.
The draft process puts a lot of value in the measurable qualities of players. But to me Harris is the kind of player you'd rather have on your sideline than the other team's. He's able to make up for what he lacks in physical abilities with the fact that he simply knows how to play football and what's going to happen next on the field.