Harmon looking to become a more complete player, maybe add weight

Harmon looking to become a more complete player, maybe add weight

Because of the prevalence of the passing game in the NFL, and because of the reliance on nickel packages to defend the passing game, good safeties -- even ones who aren't considered starters -- are as valuable as ever. 

Duron Harmon, for example, doesn't typically start for the Patriots. However, he's played in over 50 percent of the defensive snaps for Bill Belichick in each of the last two seasons, and he re-signed with New England last week, coming to terms on a four-year contract that will pay him $9 million in base salary over the life of the deal. 

Typically the team's choice in the deep middle of the field on passing downs, Harmon acknowledged in a conference call Friday that he'd like to become a more well-rounded player as he begins his second run with the Patriots.

"I think, I would say, the run area is a key [area] where I feel that I can grow in," he said. "My tackling could be a little bit more aggressive, and I think that’s going to come with putting on a little bit more weight, being able to bang down there. So I think that area is key and could be an area I could grow a lot in, I believe."

Harmon is listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds but said he'd try to gain two or three pounds and see how it feels as he gets ready for the regular season. 

"I’ll try it out maybe in OTAs and minicamp and just see how I feel, and how I like moving around a little heavier," he said. "Maybe like 207, 208."

Harmon makes up a safety group that is among the team's most experienced along with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. McCourty typically thrives in the deep portion of the field on early downs, but he can be used in a variety of ways in coverage and against the run. Chung often plays in the box, providing effective run support and blanketing tight ends. 

If Harmon adds weight and finds the level of aggressiveness he's looking for, perhaps he can become a more versatile chess piece to help keep opposing offenses on their toes. 

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'


Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial


PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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