Duron Harmon stepped in for an injured Steve Gregory in Week 9, and the rookie’s performance was an encouraging one. (Photo: NFL Game Rewind)
NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas
Last April, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick took a chance on an enigma in Rutgers safety Duron Harmon. A projected Day 3 or priority free-agent prospect, Harmon’s name was instead called at pick 91 overall – just eight slots after his Scarlet Knight teammate Logan Ryan.
The selection carried an onslaught of questions at the time, and many of those questions still remain. But as the weeks have progressed, so has the 22-year-old’s role in the Patriots secondary. By the end of August, the 6’1”, 205-pounder was able to eclipse 2012 second-rounder Tavon Wilson on the depth chart, playing dime defensive back. And over the last three games, Harmon’s “Money” duties have parlayed into more consistent relief reps at both free and strong safety.
Yet with 8:38 left in the third quarter of New England’s Week 9 tilt versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, Harmon’s responsibilities expanded once more. It was then that starting strong safety Steve Gregory departed with a broken thumb and was replaced by No. 30 for the duration.
By the time the Patriots had defeated Pittsburgh 55-31, Harmon had logged a career-high 39 snaps in the defensive backfield. In the process, he tallied four tackles, a pass deflection and an interception. The rookie showed growing pains as well as promise, but both sides of the ledger were worthwhile for his development. (more…)