Harmon "excited, appreciative" for opportunity

Harmon "excited, appreciative" for opportunity
April 27, 2013, 12:30 am
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FOXBORO -- There was a mad rush to Google after New England spent draft pick No. 91.

Duron Harmon?

A 6-1, 200-pound safety -- that much was easy enough to find out. But combine numbers? Nothing. Pre-draft analysis? Nothing. NFL Network guru Mike Mayock admitted to slotting Duron as a "late-priority free agent." The kid still doesn't have a profile photo up on NFL.com.  

Information was scarce, to put it nicely.

Luckily an excellent resource was on hand. Former Rutgers teammate Logan Ryan had been selected by New England just eight spots earlier.

"I can't think of a better person to be a Patriot alongside myself than Duron Harmon," Ryan said.

But to be taken in the third round?

"Didn't surprise me one bit; Duron is a great football player. I'm with him -- he's my workout partner -- and he works extremely hard and I know that. And he believes in himself and I believe in him. He has all the measurables and the speed that you look for and he was a two-time All Big East defender. I think if you're best in the conference for two straight years, then you're worthy of being a third round pick."

Harmon was able to speak for himself before long. When connected to reporters via conference call he was gracious, polite, and humming with energy.

"I’ve had a great feeling about today," he gushed. "I just have been excited. I was there just sitting with my mother, my little sister and two of my closest friends and we're here just sitting there, watching this draft, not with any expectations and watching it somewhat as a fan and just enjoying the moment. This day has really been a great day."

He made 50 tackles and broke up seven passes starting all 13 games in 2012. Not eyebrow raising numbers by any means. And Harmon knows. He thinks it possible even his former Rutgers teammates -- talented players like Ryan, middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais, and Big East Defensive Player of the year Khaseem Greene -- could have contributed to his flying under the draft radar.

Not that it matters now. Not after the Patriots picked him up.

"To tell you the truth I think they saw a great character person who plays hard and who is versatile," the safety said. "I think I do a lot of things that they like. I’m not just an in-the-box safety and I’m not just a free safety; I can play both positions, and I’ve shown that over the years at Rutgers.

"Obviously the New England Patriots saw something in me that they liked and they went with it and took their [chance]. I’m nothing but appreciative that such a great organization would have that much faith in me to come in and help the organization win games."