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The Denver Broncos‘ secondary has been without starter Tracy Porter the past four weeks, while Denver’s medical staff evaluates Porter’s seizure-like symptoms. In Porter’s absence there has been “next man up” philosophy in Denver.
Second-year defensive back Chris Harris has grown up quickly, going from undrafted a season ago to being named an All-Rookie player to starting across from Champ Bailey this season. Harris is one of the twenty-one starters that V.P. of Football Operations John Elway has landed since arriving in Denver, as Elway has secured nearly 75% of the Broncos starters since arriving two seasons ago.
Harris, starting in five games, has recorded 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks, defended 6 passes and intercepted two others. A sure-tackler and play-maler, Harris has the potential to remain a starter cornerback in Denver for years to come.
Meanwhile, another young cornerback, fourth-year defensive back Tony Carter, has also stepped up for Denver. As a rotational player, Carter has recorded 12 tackles, defended 8 passes and recorded 2 interceptions over the past nine weeks.
“I’m getting more comfortable out there,” Carter told the Denver Post. The more reps you get, the more comfortable you get. I’m just able to relax and let the game come to me. I’ve just been able to make the plays when I have the opportunity.”
Both Carter and Harris have scored this season — Harris scored in Week 6 and Carter has run back two interceptions and a fumble for touchdowns. A young, productive duo, Carter and Harris have stepped up, earning their playing time.
Hats off to Harris and Carter, who have both gone from the lowly status of being undrafted to becoming key parts of Denver’s dominate defense. It will be interesting to see how quickly, if at all, Porter reclaims a starting position when he returns.