The rise of Duron Harmon

Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports
When the Patriots selected Duron Harmon with the 91st overall pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft I think I threw up. Like, not a dry heave. Actual vomit. Devin McCourty had made the move to safety because he had a brutal sophomore season at corner, and we just lost Patrick Chung who had been a disappointment at the time. Dev was playing opposite Steve Gregory who, to put it nicely, is not good. Our need for secondary help, especially at the safety position, was strong. We took a corner, Logan Ryan, with the 83rd pick, then made our move for a safety. And we took a guy most experts projected to go undrafted. Classic Bill. I can deal with it when Bill pulls stunts like this with guys like Logan Mankins. He’s clearly a mean, psychotic, sonofabitch that Bill met with and loved. But this? Another Rutgers guy? Just cause Greg Schiano says he’s good? Is that really where we’re at?

All these years later, Harmon is the only player from the 2013 draft still on the team. Think about that! We took Jamie Collins at 52, who was such an athletic freak that he thought he could do whatever he wanted on the field despite the play call, and still avoid the Swift Sure Hand that is Bill’s bitch slap. Unfortunately for Jamie, no amount of jumping the line can stop Bill from ending your career by sending you to the Browns. Good riddance.

At 59 we took Aaron Dobson, who didn’t drop a single pass in his four year career at Marshall. LOL

At 83 we took the aforementioned Logan Ryan, another Rutgers boy, who served us valiantly. He battled some of the top wide receivers in the league (with safety help) and left New England with two Super Bowl rings. And now you're watch has ended.

At 102 was WR Josh Boyce, who I thought might turn into our new system slot guy, but there was one problem. He’s not any good. If you are going to be an NFL wide out, it helps if you can catch a football.

At 226 and 235 we took Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais respectively. Both late round flyers that didn’t pan out. All good there.

Isn’t it crazy that Harmon is the last man standing? I never ever would have guessed that even 2 full years after the draft. He isn’t just on the team either. He’s basically a starter. He’s the third safety on the depth chart behind Dev and the reboot of Patrick Chung, which is much better than the original (like Oceans 11, unlike Full House.) But with the Pats in the nickle package so much, Harmon spends most of the game on the field making plays. And now we have the news that he was voted a team captain for the 2017 season.

This isn’t something the Pats throw around lightly. Gronk didn’t become captain for the first until last year, his 7th year in the league. Harmon was a free agent this offseason and Bill brought him back on a 4 year extension for $20 million so you knew we liked him. But that’s management. The captaincy vote also comes from the players. These spots have been filled in the past by guys like Jerod Mayo, NINK, big Vince Wilfork, and Tom Brady. Players that have a huge impact on the organization both on the field and behind the scenes, leading the men to battle each week. Harmon has worked his ass off to make this team, then contribute on this team, and now be a leader of this team.

He's not going to make a pro bowl any time soon, and I don’t really need him to. But his development has been a hell of a story and it’s been fun to watch. Keep doing your thing, Duron. The guys respect you. Keep getting better. Keep playing within the system. And keeping doing your job. As long as he picks off Joe Flacco to close out playoff wins, he can play for me any day.