Will another former Alabama standout on defense, Ronnie Harrison, become a great player on the NFL level for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
If the former Alabama star can build on a good rookie season from 2018 and stay healthy, Harrison, who was taken in the third round last season, might be considered the best player out of the team’s draft class.
Ronnie Harrison spoke to the media for the first time on Tuesday, outlining how he hopes to show improvement this season and how the defense is coming together as the Jaguars continue with their training camp activities outside TIAA Bank Field.
"“… Last year I was kind of just trying to see where I was fitting in to this defense. This year, it’s kind of clear cut where I’m at, at strong safety, so I’m just trying to come in and work hard every day first off, earn the trust of everybody that’s been out there playing,” Harrison said. “I’m just trying to show them that I’m ready, staying in my playbook, training hard, studying the plays. Just trying to get it all down, attacking every day like it’s a game.”"
More from Jacksonville Jaguars News
- Derek Carr immediately makes Jaguars vs. Saints 2023 away game Must-Watch TV
- Jacksonville Jaguars fortify secondary in 4-round 2023 Post-Combine NFL Mock Draft
- Jacksonville Jaguars RT Jawaan Taylor expected to have massive market in 2023 NFL Free Agency
- Robert Tonyan could be perfect complement to Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram in 2023 NFL Free Agency
- 5 Jacksonville Jaguars dream targets in 2023 NFL Free Agency
The Jaguars coaching staff was pleased with what they saw last season from Harrison as the season progressed. He took time away from veteran Barry Church, who was eventually released a month away from the end of the season. Harrison’s progression was halted because of injuries. He also said learning from Church and Tashaun Gipson last season helped him prepare for the rigors of the NFL. Now, he is ready to take that next step.
There is plenty of competition in the secondary in camp. While there is plenty of depth at cornerback, the same thing cannot be said for the safety positions. It’s something Harrison and the rest of the players in the film room are aware of.
"“It just keeps everybody hungry. We’re still competing,” he added. “Nobody’s spot is solidified. We’re competing, this is training camp, everybody’s fighting for a spot, so with them making plays like that it just brings energy to the room. It makes it exciting. It makes going to practice fun.”"
Ronnie Harrison may turn out to be another Crimson Tide defender who takes an already impressive resume fro the college ranks and adds to it on the next level. He was a 2017 All-SEC selection and played on two National Title teams for Alabama in 2015 and 2017.
The acceleration of Harrison’s play hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Jaguars coaching staff. It was something head coach Doug Marrone talked about when asked how the second-year player was doing in training camp.
"“I liked Ronnie last year, I really did. Ronnie, as far as football intelligence – even last year we had a lot of talk about where is this kid from a standpoint of football intelligence, meaning how much has he seen or anything like that, and I think that’s the one thing about coming from Alabama, and obviously with Coach [Nick] Saban’s background as a defensive backs coach and it’s pretty much hands on back there,” Marrone said."
The perception is Harrison and Jarrod Wilson, who is replacing Gipson in the secondary, are a weak link to this defense. It’s something the team will have to deal with, and put their faith in the progression of both players as the season moves forward.
"“I think that last year we had two veteran players back there that have worked together, and I think what you’re seeing now in training camp is Ronnie and Jarrod Wilson working back there and getting a feel for each other, and I’m very pleased with where they are,” Marrone added.”"