Reid Harrison-Ducros has taken an incredible path to the 2020 NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "THE PICK IS IN" for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "THE PICK IS IN" for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Duquesne University cornerback Reid Harrison-Ducros has overcome several obstacles on his way to the 2020 NFL Draft. Could he change history?

The 2020 NFL Draft is within arms reach. Over the next few days, hundreds of young men from around the country will hear their names called. Dreams will come true, but the hard work will continue as they find a new home with an NFL team.

One player that is hoping to hear his name called is Duquesne University cornerback Reid Harrison-Ducros. His path to this point has been filled with obstacles, but his hard work could not only change history but could provide smaller school prospects, another piece of evidence that they have a chance.

Harrison-Ducros was a three-star prospect coming out of Colleyville Heritage High School. He received several scholarship offers but elected to sign with Boise State. During his freshman season, Harrison-Ducros appeared in ten games and would go on to start the first four games of his sophomore season.

Unfortunately, the fourth game of his sophomore season was where he hit arguably his largest obstacle. Reid was sidelined with a concussion in the game against Virginia. Once he was able to clear concussion protocols, the sophomore cornerback rarely saw playing time. Before his concussion against Virginia, Harrison-Ducros was the top-rated player at Boise State through three games.

After approaching his coaches to find out what he could improve on to see more playing time, he was unable to get a straight answer. Reid decided to transfer following his sophomore season to continue his path of achieving his lifelong dream of making it to the NFL.

“Once I signed, the DC and CB coach left for other schools, and the LB coach became the DC,” says Harrison-Ducros. “I played my true freshman year at Boise State on special teams and sometimes at the end of blowout games. My sophomore season, I started the first four games against Troy, Washington State, New Mexico, and Virginia and did really well. In fact, I was named the highest-rated player going into that Virginia game via PFF. But, early in the 2nd qtr against Virginia, I had a mild injury, and the staff held me out the remainder of the game.

“From that point on, I didn’t play a meaningful snap for the rest of my time there. I believe the DC simply preferred thicker bodied CBs as Boise State player teams with big backs. So after trying to work my way back on the field each week and nothing changing, I decided to transfer.”

Transferring to Duquesne

According to Reid, he had offers from Texas and Oklahoma. He would have to pay for his first year of school at Texas until a scholarship opened up. Oklahoma was looking to take him as a preferred walk-on. Instead, Reid wanted to go somewhere he would have a full scholarship.

Duquesne University was able to provide Reid with a full scholarship to finish his college career. During his senior season at Duquesne, Reid was a team captain, starting all ten games. He recorded four interceptions, nine passes defended, and 36 tackles making the 2019 ALL-NEC First Team.

What does Reid Harrison-Ducros bring to the NFL?

Entering the draft process has been another obstacle for Harrison-Ducros. Without an invite to the combine, and scheduled workouts with teams being canceled due to the coronavirus, Reid finds himself in a tough situation once again. Like many small-school prospects, Reid held his own virtual pro day. He was measured and timed by Donald Driver of Driven Elite and Michael Johnson of Michael Johnson Performance.

Standing at 5’10” and 186 pounds, Reid lacks the size that fits the prototypical cornerback that teams have leaned towards. When discussing cornerbacks of his size, some traits can elevate them. Reid has several traits that translate to the next level and give him a shot to be drafted this week. He has quick feet to slide and mirror releases, and hip flexibility to turn and carry downfield. His short-area quickness is outstanding in off-man and zone coverages mixed with his mental processing to position himself between routes.

Despite his smaller stature, Reid displays very good ball skills in both man and zone coverages. He does a good job of anticipating routes and breaking downhill to get his hands on the ball. In man coverage, he showcased the ability to position himself to make plays on the ball. The former Duquesne cornerback wins with his athleticism and technique to put himself in a position to make plays and not allow his smaller build to keep him from competing.

“My quickness, my technique, and my knowledge of the game. My quickness because WRs routes are getting more dynamic, so you have to have that athletic quickness to adjust. [His Pro Day 20 yard Shuttle was a 3.85 and his L-Drill was a 6.42.] Technique, because I’ve been working on it since the 6th grade and am obsessed with trying to perfect my craft. I use my technique to make receivers go where I want them to go instead of where the play would call for them to go. My knowledge of the game because I watch hours on end of film and truly enjoy being a student of the game.”

There will be times where his size will put him at a disadvantage. One of those being the ability to shed blocks. Whether it’s in the run game or when a quarterback looks to tuck and run, improving in this area will be something that Reid looks to improve on.

“One thing I’ve been trying to improve in is getting off blocks downfield on broken plays. So, for example, when a QB tucks and runs and WRs are improvising, I need to get off the WR blocks quicker,” he says

There are cornerbacks that win at the NFL level who are of similar build. One cornerback that has been one of the best at the position over the last decade is Chris Harris Jr., who is also 5’10. Reid looks up to him and models his game around how Harris wins in the NFL.

“I’ve modeled my game around Chris Harris, Jr. I picked him because he’s the same height and around the same weight as I am. I chose him because he’s played on both Nickel and Corner and has consistently played at an All-Pro level. So if I can see what he does and learn his techniques, it should work for me when I get to the NFL as well.”

When talking with his father, it was impressive to hear how Reid prepared for games, even in high school. The way that he studied opposing teams and how hard he worked to perfect his craft.

“His willingness to work and sacrifice in order to be the best individually and help his team win are unmatched,” Gary Harrison-Ducros said. “He will not deviate from his workout, film watching, etc. plans. In high school, he would map out each week’s opponent’s plays in a notebook, formations, plays run out of each, results, etc. Nobody prepares more or better.”

Despite the offseason activities being canceled and limiting his opportunities to showcase himself to NFL organizations, Reid has talked to several teams during the draft process.

“I talked with the Buccaneers and Giants at the College Gridiron Showcase in January as well as the Jaguars called my agent shortly before my scheduled Pro Day. The Colts have also sent me two questionnaires.”

What Reid’s journey can show to other small school prospects

Reid Harrison-Ducros has faced adversity several times over the last four years. Each time he has continued to move forward, keeping his eyes on the prize. While his journey wasn’t what he had initially expected, there was a lot to take away from it.

“To control what you can control, focus on my body and skills, and to put my faith in God. I say that because with transfer experience, and now with the draft process affected by the coronavirus, it requires me to trust in my abilities and in God. When you transfer, you’re leaving a school hoping that one will pick you up. With the draft process, it’s all about doing what you can. So when transferring I really had to put my faith in God that I’d end up in the right place for me (which I did), and with this draft process, I don’t control how the process goes, but I do control how I react to it.”

Over the last couple of months, Reid has made progress from the media side of the draft process. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports released his “2020 NFL Draft Final Top 250 Big Board” on Monday, which had Reid at 142. That would place him in the fourth round area of the draft. If his name is called this weekend, Reid will be the first player from Duquesne to be taken in the NFL Draft since 1951. Only one player from Duquesne has played in a regular-season NFL game since 1953, being defensive back Leigh Bodden, who went undrafted.

The Kansas City Chiefs could be interested in Harrison-Ducros, given their lack of depth at the cornerback position. Adding a developmental talent that has the versatility to play inside or out would benefit the Chiefs. Could Reid Harrison-Ducros be a day three steal when we look back on the 2020 NFL Draft?

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