Earlier we talked about the offensive line. We spoke about how placing Justin Smiley in at left guard seems to leave Uche Nwaneri in no-man’s land. He has to fight either Brad Meester or Vince Manuwai and Kynan Forney for a spot.
That thinking led me consider Derrick Harvey. With Aaron Kampman firmly penciled in at right defensive end, do we assume Derrick Harvey is the automatic left defensive end? One thing I know from watching, Gene Smith drafted guys get playing time. After this draft and free agency period, we suddenly have a lot of people listed as defensive end.
Consider this, Reggie Hayward was an excellent defensive end before his injury. What if he comes back in full force? Larry Hart has not only the desire and attitude, he has incredible physical numbers proving his limberness and quickness. What if he get 2 sacks in the opening game? Austin Lane is a big man and fighting for a spot. Whet if he suddenly lights up training camp? Jeremy Navarre made the team as an undrafted rookie last year and saw playing time. What if his off-season was like Rocky training for Clubber Lang? Don’t forget Jeremy Mincey is also back. His career has been more injury prone that failure based. If he stays healthy, this is his chance to make it as a pro.
Am I suggesting Derrick Harvey will be cut? No, I am not. Am I suggesting the emergence of any of the others makes Derrick Harvey a trade candidate? Yes I am. Am I suggesting Derrick Harvey will see bench time? Yes I am. I think Derrick Harvey has already been penciled in as the man who gives up time for the rookies.
Do I think Derrick Harvey will like this? NOT ONE BIT! Derrick is a quiet man, but not a silent man. Derrick is a competitor and someone who has never ran the bench in his entire life. We will see how Derrick responds. We will eiher hear about discontent, or we will see it on the field.
Derrick Harvey has all the athletic and football smarts to dominate his local competition. He needs to dominate the opposing offensive line. He needs to become disruptive. I really like Derrick Harvey and think he belongs in the starting lineup. He does, however, need to bring his best effort now. This next six months will determine his future as an NFL player.
- Terry O’Brien