Will Harris played multiple spots in the Lions’ secondary last season, and now head coach Dan Campbell has invented a position for him.
If I asked you who played the most defensive snaps for the Detroit Lions last season, who would you guess it was? If you confidently said Will Harris, I’d say you must have read a recent notes column from Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, which would also tell you Harris played 1,012 snaps in 2021.
Harris began last season as a starting safety opposite Tracy Walker. Then he transitioned to slot corner when AJ Parker landed on IR in November, and when Jerry Jacobs suffered a torn ACL against the Denver Broncos in Week 14 Harris became an outside corner.
Harris started all 17 games last season, naturally, finishing with a career-high 93 total tackles along with four pass breakups and a forced fumble. His performance in the upset win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15 stood as a symbol for a Lions’ defense that had to make due with what it had.
Dan Campbell invents new position for Will Harris
Harris has played all 49 games for the Lions in this three NFL seasons since being drafted in the third round in 2019 out of Boston College. His role for next season is uncertain though, depending on what the team does in the draft and what’s left of free agency.
Head coach Dan Campbell spoke to reporters on Thursday, and Harris’ name came up.
“I think Will, part of his strength is his versatility. That’s one of his greatest attributes, which we came to find out last year,” “I think he’s a jack of all trades. We’re still talking right now, you just go out day one, do you put him at corner or do you put him at safety? I’ll be honest, we haven’t just locked that down right now. We’re still kinda talking about it. That’s not a bad thing.”
Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Campbell landed on a position label for Harris.
“He’s a cafety,” Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell joked Thursday. “Yeah, he’s a hybrid. He really is. He’s a jack of all trades.”
Some Lions fans have little use for Harris. But the coaching staff clearly values his contribution during a tough 2021 season, and he’ll have some sort of role in the secondary during the 2022 campaign.