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Is the Draft Stock of Alabama Linebacker Christian Harris Falling?

Midway through the 2021 regular season, things still aren't clicking in the Crimson Tide interior defense, which will severely tested by Mississippi State's Air Raid offense.

He was on the preseason watch lists for the Butkus and Nagurski Awards and last week named a semifinalist of the the Lombardi Award as the nation's best offensive or defensive lineman.

Yet Alabama linebacker Christian Harris hasn't exactly had a signature moment yet this season, at least not against the Crimson Tide's biggest competition. The junior's best games this season have been against Mercer and Southern Miss.

Granted, Alabama just went through the toughest part of its schedule, having just faced the two offensive-minded coaches who probably know how to attack Nick Saban's defense better than anyone else, but things haven't clicked with the Crimson Tide defense. 

The No. 1 way teams are attacking them is in the air over the middle, usually between the safeties and the interior linebackers. 

For example, against Florida the Gators threw in Harris' direction four times including a 21-yard gain to the tight end on a delayed route. 

Miami completed a 17-yard pass on him (although in fairness it was a great throw). Lane Kiffin didn't even try to mislead the anyone, saying beforehand that the Rebels would be throwing over the middle. 

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Is it a bump in the road or could Harris' draft stock be falling? Should he come out after this season for the 2022 NFL Draft early projections have him to be among the top interior linebackers along with Devin Lloyd of Utah and Georgia's Nakobe Dean. 

Overall, Harris has played in all 32 games of his Alabama career, including 31 starts. 

With Henry To'oTo'o in the mix after transferring from Tennessee, and taking over the primary play-calling responsibilities, the thought was that Harris would be able to pin his ears back, and just react and play at weakside linebacker. 

It hasn't really happened that way. To'oTo'o has been leading the Crimson Tide in tackling. Harris, who was second in team tackles last season, is fifth with 31. He has one sack to go with a quarterback hurry and one pass breakup.

Over the past two weeks he had just three against Ole Miss and four at Texas A&M. 

Per NFL Draft Bible at the start of the season: "Athletically gifted linebacker with explosiveness and length. Harris is a modern-day player able to run cover and blitz. He has the physical traits and leadership qualities coveted. As a tackler, he is not reliable and in space, he lacks desired instincts to be a difference-maker. Harris projects as a future starting inside linebacker, ideally at Will to take advantage of his movement skills. He has the tools to be special in the future."

The regular season's half over, but Saturday's game at Mississippi State will be telling. Not only will Harris and Co. have to deal with the cowbells, Mike Leach's Air Raid offense throws about 70 percent of the time, yet is still fifth nationally in time of possession.