Preston's observations: Saints might have found a gem in Archbishop Curley grad Deonte Harris

Even if a player doesn’t fit the NFL prototype, the league will find him.

Teams will find a way to look under every rock or into any crevice to find a player, and the New Orleans Saints found receiver/returner Deonte Harris at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass.


New Orleans signed the 5-foot-6, 175-pound Harris to a rookie free-agent contract shortly after the NFL draft about a week and half ago, but few people knew about Harris, including a lot of the local media. Harris, 21, is from Middle River and a graduate of Archbishop Curley.

“I also had an offer from the Bengals but I thought the Saints were a better fit for me,” Harris said.


Any team needing a return specialist would have been a good fit for Harris. At Assumption, he had 45 touchdowns, including 14 on returns. He finished with 6,173 all-purpose yards, and in his last game he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score.

The Saints, New York Jets, New England Patriots and New York Giants showed interest, but Harris didn’t worry about being drafted. He knew he was going to get an opportunity after testing well at his pro days at Harvard and Holy Cross.

“It’s a business but I was confident,” Harris said. “To do this I think you have to have good instincts. But I also think my speed, ability, being able to read blocks and make people miss also helps.”

Harris was so exciting at Assumption that there was a “TayNation” created by family members, especially his mother, Ellisa, and father, Marlon Harty.

It’s a long shot for most free-agent rookies to make pro teams, but Harris likes his chances.

“Down the road I would say my chances of making the Saints are pretty high,” he said.

Coaching wisdom

Ravens coach John Harbaugh left the media with this nugget of wisdom recently when asked about the Ravens’ past success in finding undrafted free-agent linebackers, and what he looked for in them.

“Just good football players,” Harbaugh said. “We look for guys who can run, guys who make a lot of tackles. So, if you find a linebacker in college that makes tackles, generally that carries over into the NFL.”



Vedvik back on field

Punter-kicker Kaare Vedvik is on the field kicking again, and I assume that once he shows he is at the top of his game, he won’t be in Baltimore long.

He was amazing in last season’s training camp, hitting eight of nine field goals before an off-the-field assault in downtown Baltimore sidelined him for the season. Several teams were interested in trading for Vedvik. Things will heat up again.

Thoughts on Board

I am really interested in watching Ravens second-year linebacker Chris Board in training camp. Out of North Dakota State, he played with power at times and showed good range in coverage. He even had decent hands when he picked off a few passes in practice last summer.

He led the Ravens with 12 special-teams tackles last season, and he has enough size to shed blocks. It would be interesting to see if third-year outside linebacker Tyus Bowser could play inside as well. He can’t run sideline-to-sideline the way C.J. Mosley can, but he can play with power.

Message for Moore

This will be a make-or-break season for Ravens receiver Chris Moore, about to enter his fourth season.


There have been times when Moore looks as if he is about to contribute consistently, but he goes back to the bench either because of his own mistakes or he is No. 2 or 3 on the depth chart.

Moore has good speed and size and has 44 catches for 490 yards and four touchdowns during his three seasons in Baltimore. But once a former draft pick enters his third and fourth season, it’s time to produce or move on.

With the Ravens drafting two receivers last month, Moore probably got the message.

Flacco opponents

Anyone catch the Denver Broncos’ schedule for next season?

Besides playing the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers twice, the Broncos must also face the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns.

Joe Flacco could be in trouble.