As the Jets get close to training camp, I am going to examine the roster and give you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.
No. 7: Damon Harrison
Last year’s ranking: Unranked Position: Nose tackle Age: 25 How acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent on April 29, 2012 Years left on contract: 1 2014 salary cap figure: $572,334
Looking back at 2013: Harrison entered training camp last year as an afterthought. He basically “redshirted” in 2012, playing in just a few games, and was an unknown when camp started.
Harrison, known as “Snacks,” got his chance when starting nose tackle Kenrick Ellis injured his back in training camp. Harrison stepped in and immediately looked impressive in the preseason. He never gave the job back and became the most pleasant surprise of the season.
The Jets run defense finished third in the NFL. Harrison was the man in the middle of that. He is overshadowed by linemates Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richarsdon, but Harrison had a major impact as well.
He had 39 “stops” last year, according to Pro Football Focus. These are solo tackles that constitute an offensive failure. PFF had Harrison as the No. 4 rated nose tackle/defensive tackle in all of football.
The knock on Harrison is he has no impact in the passing game. At the moment, he is a two-down lineman, coming off the field in passing situations.
Outlook for 2014: Harrison is not sneaking up on anyone this season. It will be interesting to watch how he develops. Teams may focus on stopping Harrison more, but that will free up things for Wilkerson and Richardson. That is the beauty of the Jets’ defensive line – teams must pick their poison. More often than not, I think that will benefit Harrison because he is the third-best player in the group.
Harrison was a great find by Mike Tannenbaum and his scouting staff in 2012 out of tiny William Penn University. This is just his second season as a regular player, and you have to expect him to keep improving.
Harrison is the biggest bargain on the team – and one of the best in the NFL — at a salary of $570,000 this season. He will be a restricted free agent after this season, and he will get a nice pay bump next year.
Idzik knows exactly what he's doing.
We have plenty of cap space to keep all of the guys we want, and should have enough to sign any potential FAs that FIT the team's vision.
If Geno gets to his College type stats re turnovers we're in for the best era of Jets football ever. Tell me I'm wrong.