The Detroit Lions have plenty of needs this offseason when it comes to their roster, and another big one may have opened up courtesy of a new position switch.
Defensive back Will Harris, who played safety last season, could now be looking at a move to cornerback, or even a hybrid position where he rotates between safety and cornerback. Dan Campbell discussed this when meeting with the media last week. While some would believe it would be best to give up on Harris, the Lions seem committed to trying to make things work with the young defensive back and perhaps moving him around in a way to showcase his talent.
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Overall, this is the right move ahead of the 2022 season. The Lions have enough holes on defense right now, and shouldn’t be giving up on a player like Harris at all given their need for players at all levels. While folks will point to how Harris has struggled in several ways, he also has a chance to play a consistent role for the Lions if he can accept these changes and use them to his advantage.
In this day in age, it’s always easier for a franchise to give up on players, but there’s something to be said for the teams that seem committed to make something work. Harris will have to work hard to earn and keep his role, but it seems as if the Lions want to see him put in better positions to have success rather than setting him up to fail automatically. Putting him in matchup based scenarios will allow the Lions a chance at doing this on defense.
What Harris does with the potential new opportunity is anyone’s guess, but it seems a lock he will get a second chance with the team.
Harris Admitted Comfort With Cornerback Last Year
Harris was pressed into duty at cornerback in Week 15 during the 2021 season and played well. As a result, it quickly became part of the conversation that Harris might be able to stick it out at the position long-term, or at least offer the Lions something for the future at two positions on the defense.
Such a revelation could lead to the notion that Harris is more valuable to the Lions at this point, and that’s certainly possible if he continues to be able to do everything the defense asks of him while improving his own game dramatically.
Speaking to the media last year on Wednesday, December 29 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, Harris was asked about his future this offseason and if he feels more valuable for the Lions given the multitude of different positions he has been able to play. As he said, being able to adjust to whatever the team needs has been something he has prided himself on.
“In certain situations, I kind of need to take off a safety perspective and put on a nickel perspective on how I see things, sometimes I have to put down a nickel perspective and switch over to a corner perspective of seeing things. It’s allowed me to continue to build as a player and as an overall defensive back in this league,” Harris explained. “One thing I will say is it’s super exciting for me just because it’s a unique opportunity. That’s kind of what I see it as. A really great opportunity and I don’t take that for granted at all. I come to work every day, if my task is to play a certain role or certain job, my task is to hone in as if it’s been my job since day one.”
Thinking about it this way, it’s easy to see why Harris could have a valuable future with the Lions. He has proven already he can do a little bit of everything on the field, and he has also been coachable with regards to that. It’s a huge fact for a player who could end up playing his way into a long-term role as a result.
With this in mind now, it’s easy to see why the Lions might be eying this switch with Harris, and why it could make a ton of sense for them to move the player around rather than cut him loose.
Harris’s Career Stats & Highlights
His first few years in the league, Harris has not been a player who has made a huge impact in the NFL, which could lead to his status as a player that might be searching for a dual role. In fact, the Lions have seen Harris only put up modest stats for the team. He’s collected 171 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 8 passes defended for the team while playing in the NFL. Harris hasn’t seen the field consistently, and has struggled with his own consistency when he has.
In college, Harris put up 225 tackles, 7 interceptions 7 passes defended, 1 touchdown and 1 sack. That was great production that showed what he could do and helped him become a third-round pick of the Lions. Here’s a look at some of his best work from that time period:
While Harris has not made a huge impact yet statistically, the Lions clearly believe the best is yet to come for the young defensive back. If that is the case, his possible new role could be what is to thank in the end.