In case you haven’t heard, the Broncos’ Chris Harris Jr. is the best cornerback in the NFL, and we don’t just say that because we love him. Harris Jr. finished the season ranked atop Pro Football Focus’ list of highest graded corners in the league, and believe it or not, didn’t allow a single touchdown in 2014.
That’s right, the man who has proclaimed all season that he feels he is the best corner in the game hasn’t allowed a touchdown. Not many players in the NFL — if any others — can claim to have avoided giving up a touchdown at all. That comes in just shy of 1,000 snaps this season for Harris Jr., who absolutely earned a brand-new five-year contract with the Broncos in the final weeks of the season.
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Harris’ dominance this year led to a complete shutout in the most important category of giving up points, but he also helped the Broncos rank first in the NFL in overall defensive grade by Pro Football Focus, third in yards allowed.
In addition to a new contract, Harris Jr. earned his first Pro Bowl bid, and was voted by his teammates for the Ed Block Courage Award after tearing his ACL earlier this year against the San Diego Chargers in the playoffs. The Broncos didn’t have Harris Jr. for their AFC Championship win over New England or their Super Bowl loss to the Seahawks, and it was a race to opening day for Harris Jr. who progressed as fast or faster than anyone you’ll see coming back from an ACL tear.
It was an incredible season for Harris Jr., who was probably the Broncos’ most valuable player — offense, defense, or otherwise. He was certainly the most consistently dominant player, lining up inside, outside, going up against speed, going up against size — Harris Jr. really did it all for the Broncos.
And he will continue to do so. For now, the goal is winning three straight games and bringing home some hardware. The Broncos appear much better equipped to do that this year compared to last year, when the offense was stifled by the dominant Seattle defense. The Seahawks led the NFL in defensive grade by Pro Football Focus, and the Broncos took home that honor this year, even with Seattle’s late-season surge. Denver’s defense has played great to close out the season, thanks large in part to the production of their cornerbacks and Chris Harris Jr.
The thing I love the most about Harris Jr. is despite all his success and his meteoric rise from NFL Draft unknown, undrafted player to Pro Bowler and superstar, he has stayed so humble. All he cares about is winning, and getting a Super Bowl notched on his belt. This year, he will hopefully get that opportunity.
“But I just want to play in Super Bowls,” Harris Jr. said. “I’ll line up wherever they want me to, play wherever, I just want to help us get to big games, playoff games, Super Bowl. I had to stand and watch last year and I felt like I might have helped some. I want to help.”