The New England Patriots have made two draft picks at the safety position in back-to-back years that were viewed as big reaches, as they took Illinois product Tavon Wilson, who showed plenty of promise as a rookie, in the second round of last year’s draft. This year’s perceived reach was Rutgers safety Duron Harmon, who wasn’t even on the boards of a number of draft analysts. Both safeties have roster spots virtually locked up, and Harmon has shown up far more than Wilson in training camp, and it’s to the point where it looks like Harmon has usurped Wilson on the depth chart.
Harmon is an interesting player, because he is yet another Rutgers product who fits that “Do your job” label. More interesting is the fact that Harmon has the ability to play at either safety position, and he looks like the second-best safety on the Patriots in deep coverage behind Devin McCourty, as Harmon has been picking off passes and showing great instincts in camp thus far.
McCourty is the star and leader of the unit as a budding elite safety, and he had this to say about a fellow young, Rutgers alumn at the position, “He’s working hard. He’s learning the system. I like being in there with him. Even if he’s unsure about something, he’s usually moving in the right direction. Tell him one thing, and puts the pieces together when he’s out there. I’m encouraged by the effort.”
I don’t know if he’ll play much as a rookie, but Harmon is a lock to make the roster as somebody who has looked good in training camp, is a rookie picked in the third round, and is somebody the Patriots seem to be high on. Harmon’s promise makes Steve Gregory even more expendable, and I will be almost shocked if Gregory keeps a roster spot.