The Detroit Lions were tied for last in the NFL a season ago with just seven interceptions. Detroit's been on the lookout this offseason for more players who can affect the quarterback in the front end of their defense and guys who can get their hands on footballs in the back end.
That's where Duron Harmon comes in. The Lions acquired Harmon in a trade with the New England Patriots.
Harmon has been a rangy free safety for the Patriots the last seven years. He has recorded 10 interceptions in the last three years alone, playing as New England's third safety behind Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung.
"We did a lot of things at the Patriots that allowed me to just be in the middle of the field and read the quarterback and I think that's one of my best attributes," Harmon said in a conference call Friday.
"I feel like I'm a rangy safety that gets to a lot of places, especially if I have good break on the quarterback, and that's just what I like to do."
Harmon knows head coach Matt Patricia's defense well from their time together with the Patriots. He will join Tracy Walker and Will Harris competing for playing time at safety in 2020. Harmon acknowledged Walker and Harris on the call as being two good young safeties on the roster in Detroit. Harmon said any role he has within the defense this season will have to be earned.
Harmon's played in 111 games in seven seasons with New England with 29 starts. He had 22 tackles and two interceptions in 16 games (eight starts) last season. He had back-to-back four-interception seasons in 2017 and 2018. He's earned a 92.6 coverage grade at free safety dating back to 2015, tied for the sixth best among all safeties, per Pro Football Focus statistics. He's No. 1 over that span in forcing incompletions among safeties.
In Detroit, Harmon hopes to step into more of a full-time role than the one he had in New England as the third guy in that group of safeties. Harmon played 65.7 percent of the defensive snaps last year for New England's No. 1 ranked defense, which was the highest of his seven-year career.
"I've been in a very unique situation at the Patriots," Harmon said. "Carved out a great role being the third safety behind two of the best safeties in the league. Those guys were great mentors for me. Great example of how to play the game, but eventually I wanted to go to a spot where I can play 90-95 percent of the plays.
"That's where I'm looking to expand my role at. Whether that happens is obviously determined on what I can show Matty P and the staff. I'm just looking forward to coming in, working hard and doing everything I can to show them that I'm a guy that can go out there and play those plays for you and do everything I can to lead by example and just help the team win football games."