FOXBORO, Mass. — While many other rookies on the Patriots have been thrust into starting roles, Duron Harmon has had the benefit of being able to ease his way into playing time.
The rookie safety has come in for Steve Gregory at times and has become the de facto dime defensive back, playing both safety positions and the “Money” cornerback spot (covering the “fourth” receiver). Harmon has made the most of his opportunities, deflecting a pass against the Jets, playing the run well and pulling in the game-clinching interception against the Dolphins.
Harmon was able to enter a comfortable environment in New England with so many of his former Rutgers teammates around. One of those players is defensive captain Devin McCourty, who has played a big role in the rookie’s development.
The Patriots are midway through the season, so now is the time to catch up with this year’s crop of rookies to see how their seasons are progressing. Check out what Harmon had to say below.
Does the season seem to be going by fast or slow?
Duron Harmon: A little bit of both. In all reality, how many games I played — I probably already played with the preseason — my whole season [in college]. But when you’re around great guys, especially the defensive backs, who I spend most of my time with, they make things go a whole lot faster and I’m able to learn and have great relationships with great people.
Who do you look to as your big brother on the team?
[Nate Ebner, sitting in the next locker, points to himself.]
DH: Definitely Devin. Us already having a previous friendship and relationship from Rutgers, then him playing the same position as me. He’s always there for me if I have a question, any guidance. Any question even off the field if I ask him, he always has a good answer for me. And if he doesn’t have the answer, he knows who to direct me to get the answer.
What’s been the hardest adjustment you’ve had to make this season?
DH: Just knowledge of the game. People in this, doing it for careers and they’re so much smarter than college athletes. I’m just trying to catch up. That’s why it’s so great to have people like Devin and Steve Gregory, who have so much knowledge of the game. You can just soak it up from them.
What’s been the easiest adjustment or the biggest benefit of coming to the Patriots ?
DH: I was gonna say, nothing’s easy. The easiest thing is probably just having Devin in my corner. I’m comfortable with him, knowing him from Rutgers. And then being able to go to him any time I need him. That’s a big benefit that a lot of rookies don’t have.
How was the move up to New England from Rutgers? Was that a big change?
DH: I don’t think it’s too much of a change. In Jersey, it got cold around this time. I think the biggest thing, they say is the snow. When it snows, it really snows. So, that’s gonna be a change for me. But as of right now, it’s literally about the same as it was temperature-wise in New Jersey.