Jeremy Harris to Jaguars: How Does Cornerback Fit in Jacksonville?

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Jeremy Harris to Jaguars: How Does Cornerback Fit in Jacksonville?
Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

It's tough to grade a pick you've never heard of, and that's the situation I found myself in with regard to Jeremy Harris. Just because fans don't know a player doesn't mean he's not a solid player, though.

The Jacksonville Jaguars obviously know more about Harris than the average fan, not just due to the huge amount of time they spend scouting players, but also because Harris' college coach, DeWayne Walker, is now the Jaguars' defensive backs coach. It seems clear Walker had input in this selection.

You can see how I graded the Harris pick in the Draft Tracker. Let's take a look at how Harris could fit on the Jaguars roster.

 

Role

Had you heard of Jeremy Harris before he was selected by the Jaguars?

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The Jaguars' stable of cornerbacks entering draft weekend consisted of free-agent signee Alan Ball, second-year slot corner Mike Harris and backups such as Kevin Rutland, Antwaun Molden and other players you wouldn't recognize at the grocery store.

With third-round pick Dwayne Gratz already added to the roster, the Jaguars drafted Harris in the hopes he could contribute as a backup/special-teamer his rookie year and potentially develop into a starter in the future.

Harris has outstanding size for a corner; he measured in at 6'3" at his pro day. He isn't really strong enough to check bigger receivers his rookie year, but with some time in an NFL weight room, he could develop more strength in the future.

This pick is about scheme fit; the Jaguars want big, physical corners who can play press-man coverage. Harris doesn't have the strength to adequately jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, but he has the length the Jaguars covet.

The role of a backup corner is primarily special teams with the ability to step in if a starter gets injured or when the defense goes to a dime or quarters look. That's likely the role the Jaguars see Harris playing his rookie year. He could see time as a gunner on the punt coverage team and potentially as an edge-rusher on the kick and punt block teams.

 

Roster Fit

Harris is no guarantee to make the roster his rookie year; the Jaguars have a lot of bodies at the cornerback position, and I expect them to add even more in undrafted free agency.

Dwayne Gratz's roster spot is likely secure, and Mike Harris and Alan Ball are probably safe. That means Harris should be battling seventh-round pick Demetrius McCray, Antwaun Molden, incumbent corners Kevin Rutland, Antwon Blake and undrafted rookies for two to three roster spots.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

If Harris doesn't make the Jaguars' opening day roster, he should be able to sneak through waivers and land on the practice squad. With DeWayne Walker's presence on the Jaguars' coaching staff, the team probably has more information on Harris than any other team. This means if he's cut, it doesn't seem likely a team would spend a 53-man roster spot to find out if they know more than his former college coach.

 

Early Projections

Jeremy Harris isn't even a lock to make the roster, and if he does, his playing time should be extremely sporadic. He doesn't seem likely to make a big impact his rookie year.

If pressed into playing time, I expect Harris to struggle immensely, especially against larger, physical receivers. Harris has fantastic length and physical ability, but he needs to get stronger before he should be able to succeed at the NFL level.

Harris' main focus should be on special teams. A long, fast player like Harris could be a factor as a gunner on the punt coverage team and could potentially block a punt or kick as well.

If Harris makes the Jaguars' 53-man roster, I expect a small number of snaps over the course of the season with mixed results, a handful of special teams tackles and no interceptions. He was drafted with an eye on the future, not on 2013 production.

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