Although Harris is on a new team in 2020, it may result in him getting back to the way he used to play. When Vic Fangio became the coach of the Broncos, he moved Harris from the slot to the outside. That’s a tough transition to make for someone who’s been in a well-defined role for so long.
The results were mixed, to say the least. Denver really didn’t have good cornerback depth on the outside last year, so it was a necessity to have Harris on the outside. From Harris’ standpoint though, it’s clear from his performance on the outside that his best work comes in the slot.
Overall, his defensive grade was 69.9, which is still above average. However, it’s a drop from his prior defensive grades in his first eight seasons. Harris never went below a 75 defensive grade previously.
That may lead some to believe that Harris is over the hill. While he is 30, I’m not sure that’s true yet. Rushing defense, pass rush, and tackling were still as good as they’ve ever been for the All-Pro. Coverage was where his grade decreased about 18 points from year to year. It’s hard to ignore the forced transition from slot to outside when looking at such a steep drop like that.
In a secondary filled with a lot of youth, Harris is a great veteran presence that should fit nicely. He was one of the best cornerbacks of the last decade and should return to peak coverage performance in the slot. Dime heavy schemes and packages should be Harris’ bread and butter in this defense.