On Now
Coming Up
  • Mon., Apr. 03, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with new head coaches may begin offseason workouts Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Cortez
    April 21, 2017
    Parque de Vida in Cortez, CO
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT TackleSTEM: Cardboard Combine
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Del Norte
    April 22, 2017
    High Valley Community Center
    1210 Grand Ave, Del Norte, CO 81132
    Click here for more information.
  • Wed., Apr. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
  • Thu., Apr. 27, 2017 12:00 AM MDT 2017 NFL Draft The 2017 NFL Draft begins in Philadelphia and runs through April 29.
  • Fri., May. 05, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Fort Morgan
    May 5, 2017
    Legion Field
    219 S West St, Fort Morgan, CO 80701
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., May. 06, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Woodland Park
    May 6, 2017
    Woodland Park High School
    151 Panther Way, Woodland Park, CO 80863
    Click here for more information.
  • Sun., May. 07, 2017 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Aurora
    May 7, 2017
    Aurora Municipal Lawn
    15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora, CO 80012
    Click here for more information.
Print
RSS

Harris Striving to Be 'One of the Best'

Posted May 21, 2013

Cornerback Chris Harris has gone from undrafted free agent to key contributor, and now the third-year player considers himself 'one of the best slot corners' in the league.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Chris Harris has come a long way from leading a 3-9 Kansas team and signing with the Broncos as an unheralded college free agent.

"My senior year was unfortunate, I wasn’t on a good team and then I’m coming from a basketball program and my coaches didn’t help me," Harris said of going undrafted. "When you get put in a situation like that, it’s hard. It’s easy for someone to fall through the cracks, and that was just my situation.”

But the cornerback didn't take his opportunity for granted. He fought his way onto the roster, going on to play in all 16 games in 2011 to make the PFW/PFWA and Football Outsiders' NFL All Rookie Team.

Now entering his third season, Harris is coming off a year in which he tied for the team lead with three interceptions and was the league's only corner to record multiple picks and sacks.

"I feel like I am a starting corner in this league, easy," Harris said Tuesday. "I’m an undrafted guy that’s taking advantage of the opportunity. That’s the easiest way that I can describe it to you. I’m just taking advantage of the playing time I get.”

Harris was a starter last season, opening a career-high 12 games. This offseason, the Broncos added another cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who might end up as the starter opposite Champ Bailey at outside cornerback. But even if Harris is designated as the team's nickel cornerback, he'll still see plenty of playing time -- nearly 70 percent of the snaps, in Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio's opinion -- and might even grab a handful of official "starts" if the opposing offense opens with three wide receivers.

But "starter" or not, Harris knows what he can do.

“You play with the Broncos, they’re bringing in good guys every year -- you always have to be ready to play," he said of raising his game to compete with veterans. "Now I feel like I’m one of those guys. I’m going into my third year. I’ve played a lot and experienced a lot. Playoffs each year that I’ve been here and I’ve played well. That’s definitely helped put me out there.”

In 2013, Harris will have a chance no other corner that defends the slot has -- the opportunity to match up with arguably the best slot receiver in league history every day in practice.

"He’s one of the best slot receivers, and I think I’m one of the best slot corners," Harris said of his daily battles with Wes Welker.

One of the most important traits that has helped him succeed as an inside cornerback, Harris said, is his knowledge of the game. It's a position that demands intelligence, as he'll have to communicate with the outside cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers.

"I have a lot of responsibility in this defense," Harris said. "Coach Jack (Del Rio), he puts a lot of responsibility on me and it comes easy to me because I know the whole system.”

Now that the third-year cornerback has come into his own and has the trust of his coaches and teammates, he's looking to improve on his speed and strength to continue playing at a high level.

No matter where he lines up on the field, Harris is confident in what he can bring to the Broncos.

"I really see myself as a true corner that can play slot," he said. "The reason why I’m good at slot is because I know what I’m doing. I know the defense. I know the system. That’s where I can communicate with linebackers, communicate with the safeties and put everybody in the right coverage. That’s something that really sets me apart compared to a lot of DBs.”