As I continue on, I’d like to direct your attention to an absolute monster! Coming straight out of Michigan, the 2007 second-round pick was touted as a threat to the running game.
Praised for his ability to close distances quickly, David Harris made the best of his opportunities before stepped in to a starting role at the halfway mark of the season against Buffalo. And from that moment on, he has shown Jets’ fans what an inside linebacker should be able to do in a 3-4 defense.
That’s not a knock on Jon Vilma at all, either. I loved him in our Jets’ uniform, and I wish him all the best down in New Orleans. But to say he was ineffective in the 3-4 defense would be an understatement.
However, this is not the time to bash Vilma.
The common misconception is that David Harris replaced Vilma. The transition was actually reported as an interior shift with Eric Barton sliding into the vacancy left by Vilma, and Harris stepping in to Barton’s former location. Either way you slice it, the man tallied 17 tackles, 10 solo, and 1 sack in his first start! We hadn’t seen that kind of play from a linebacker in two years!
As the season went on, David Harris saw totals of 127 tackles, 90 solo, 5 sacks, 3 passes defensed, and 2 forced fumbles with 1 recovered in only 9 NFL starts! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
Since I love to play the comparison game, Harris’ stats compared to the Defensive Rookie of the Year, Patrick Willis, of the San Francisco 49ers are comparable. Willis had the fortune of starting all 16 games in his rookie season, amassing 174 tackles, 135 solo, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles with 1 recovered.
Willis’ numbers are certainly impressive, and I congratulate him for receiving his honors and accolades from the National Football League. I’m not saying the voting would have turned out differently had David Harris been starting from Week 1, but the voting would have been a lot closer.
All comparisons aside, what we certainly have here is a truly hard-nosed linebacker of a monstrous caliber. With Kerry Rhodes roaming the defensive backfield and David Harris controlling everything from the Front 7 down to the line of scrimmage, we have 2 very talented athletes that will help contribute to the New York Jets’ NFL leading defense next season. Enjoy trying to gameplan against them.