Denver Broncos: Davontae Harris the next man up at CB
After a dreadful first half against the Chargers, the Denver Broncos replaced Isaac Yiadom with Davontae Harris, who will get a chance at more reps.
The Denver Broncos have had some struggles at the cornerback position this year in terms of injuries, losing starter Bryce Callahan in training camp to an aggravated foot injury and now De’Vante Bausby to a cervical sprain.
Bausby is thankfully okay after a very scary injury which apparently left him paralyzed for 30 minutes.
Although the Broncos could wind up splitting some reps with Isaac Yiadom, it seems like recently acquired Davontae Harris, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, is going to get a shot at increased reps in practice and perhaps the most significant playing time in the Broncos’ upcoming matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio talked about Harris’ second-half performance against the Chargers and feels he could be better with more time on task.
"“He did OK. It was obvious that they were going to go after whoever was in there at that time, so he got a lot of action for his first action. Hopefully, if we decided to play him some more this week, he’ll get more practice time on the field than whereas the last few weeks ‘Baus’ and ‘Ike’ have been getting the bulk of the practice time there. We’ll amp his practice time more.”Vic Fangio (quotes via Broncos PR)"
Many fans will think the logical option is to just put Kareem Jackson, who has been a cornerback much of his NFL career, back at cornerback after the team finally got a chance to play him at safety, but that isn’t the best option for what the Broncos are trying to do.
Jackson stated on Tuesday at his press conference that he has to ‘brush up’ on a few things at safety even after looking tremendous on Sunday in that role, and the verbiage he used describing his role going forward seemed to clearly indicate he would be staying at safety, even with the injury to Bausby keeping him out for an unknown length of time.
Right now, it’s going to be either Davontae Harris or Isaac Yiadom at the outside corner spot opposite Chris Harris Jr. with Duke Dawson Jr. in the slot.
So, let’s get to know Harris a little bit, shall we? The Broncos scouting department obviously liked him quite a bit, as they hosted him for a pre-draft visit ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft before picking him up at roster cut time this year. The Cincinnati Bengals used a fifth-round pick on Harris last year and let him go when rosters were cut down.
Davontae Harris at a glance
Weight: 200 pounds
40 time: 4.45
Bench press: 22 reps
College: Illinois State
Draft: Cincinnati Bengals (2018, 5th round)
Harris obviously has the requisite size, strength, and speed to play corner in the NFL. He dominated a lower level of competition in college at Illinois State, but those types of athletic traits and his physical nature work in his favor given some development at the NFL level.
The Broncos are calling his number sooner than they had envisioned, of course, but athletically, he’s going to be up to the task.
Vic Fangio has been a stickler, and rightly so, about guys coming in late to the program just being inserted into his defense. This defense takes time to learn, it takes time to grow in, and it takes time to build chemistry.
Harris will need to get up to speed quickly in practice but wouldn’t it be awesome if the Broncos were able to carve out a role for both he and Duke Dawson after both guys joined the team just before the start of the regular season?
After a dismal return to action against the Chargers, the Broncos benched Isaac Yiadom coming out of the locker room at halftime and inserted Harris into the game. He was predictably targeted early, and gave up a couple of first-down catches and also had a pass interference penalty, but he settled in and had some nice coverage later on.
We’ll see what the Broncos do this week as Vic Fangio updates things daily, but don’t be surprised to see no. 27 out there getting his shot to prove he can start for this defense after Yiadom has struggled in three appearances this year.