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Nick Harris Might Have to Play, and Start, Right Away for Browns

The former University of Washington lineman was drafted as a center, but could be needed elsewhere. Here's how it shakes down.
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Nick Harris has never been a stray Dawg. He always runs with the pack. Leads it.

No matter how and where it happens, Harris is going to play football right away. He established himself from the outset at the University of Washington. The Cleveland Browns, his new team, find they need him more than ever.

At guard, not center.

A fifth-round draft pick for the NFL club, Harris' value has increased significantly after a pair of Browns guards, Colby Gossett and Drew Forbes, opted out of the coming season because of COVID-19 concerns.

Even before those two withdrew their services, Harris had endeared himself to Cleveland with his confidence, his personality and his possibilities.

The Browns like him so much they signed him to a four-year, $3.6 million contract within a month of drafting him.

After three months of getting acquainted, Harris promises to be a favorite for the Dawg Pound, those end-zone bleacher crazies, with his scrappy play. He seems to enjoy himself at all times, as this Twitter video reminds.

With training camp in motion, Harris figures to play a lot if not start coming out of the gates. Yes, break into the opening lineup. That's not out of the question.

A wide range of positive assessments have been coming from the Browns media observers regarding the two-time, first-team All-Pac-12 center. Some have strongly suggested the former UW player will even beat out incumbent guard Wyatt Teller on the right side.

"My bold prediction is Nick Harris wins the right guard job — no way the Browns used a fifth-round pick on a multi-year backup center," writes Dan Labbe of cleveland.com.

"The X-Factor: Harris. The fifth-round selection out of Washington is pegged as the likeliest backup option to (center J.C.) Tretter, but that shouldn't discount his importance," reports Andrew Gribble of clevelandbrowns.com. 

Greg Newland of dawgpounddaily.com has this to say about the newcomer from Seattle, "Many are excited about fifth-round pick Nick Harris. In order to be a starting NFL center, Harris will have to continue to get stronger, but he has the athleticism to excel in the wide-zone scheme."

And then there's Tim Bielik of cleveland.com who wrote, "Harris could certainly find himself in the mix to play immediately at right guard. But it's more likely 2020 is a learning season for Harris, where he can gain experience behind the scenes and be more ready to compete for a starting center job in 2021."

Among all those Huskies from last year's team, only Harris is universally loved by the NFL so far. His UW quarterback Jacob Eason is expected to sit and learn for a season, or more, while the others are just hoping to catch on as free agents. 

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