For the second straight year, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots left the media draft community scratching their heads when they drafted a safety on Day 2 who was almost completely off the radar. This year, that player was Rutgers strong safety Duron Harmon, who they drafted as the No. 91 pick.
Fresh off of drafting Harmon’s teammate in the Rutgers secondary, Logan Ryan, just eight picks earlier, the Patriots drafted the Scarlet Knights safety, who did not assert himself as a consistent impact player during his Rutgers career. He has good size for the position (6’0", 196 pounds) and is a hard hitter on the back end, but in limited study he appears to have deficiencies in both coverage and run-support tackling.
Harmon being selected ahead of better strong safeties including North Carolina State’s Earl Wolff and Syracuse’s Shamarko Thomas is puzzling enough, but furthermore the Patriots did not have any need to draft another safety. Unlike last year, when the Patriots legitimately had a need for a safety when they selected Illinois’ Tavon Wilson to everyone’s surprise in Round 2, they were already fully stocked at the safety position after adding free-agent strong safety Adrian Wilson earlier this offseason.
Considering that the Patriots used their entire clock before making the Harmon selection, it is likely that they were attempting to trade out of Round 3 to pick up additional selections, possibly with the intention of drafting Harmon at more reasonable value in a later round. Instead, they drafted the lowest-rated player by most media draft analysts among the first three rounds at a position where they did not have a need.