With the departures of Steve Gregory and Adrian Wilson, the path seems clear for Duron Harmon to assume the starting safety role. That doesn't mean that Harmon is taking anything for granted.
He knows that he has to prove that he's worthy of a starting job. It won't be handed to him:
“It’s an opportunity for me to show that I am capable of playing and starting. But it all counts towards me. I have to show my worth to Coach Belichick and the coaching staff, and I’m eager to do that.”
Harmon was at a third grade elementary school volunteering as a part of the Patriots' Celebrate Volunteerism efforts. During the visit, Harmon admitted that not having Gregory around would make his job harder:
“Steve Gregory was like a big brother/uncle to me, somebody that literally sat me down all the time and watched film with me, broke things down, so he’s definitely going to be missed.”
Harmon was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of last year's draft. It was the most surprising pick up by the team as Harmon wasn't considered a mid round draft choice and was considered a late-round selection at best. Duron did well in relief for Gregory during the season and by the year's end he had pretty clearly settled into his role.
“I felt good about just being out there, just getting comfortable out there,” he answered. “Toward the beginning of the season, I was just a little hesitant because playing in the NFL is different than playing in college [at Rutgers]. So just getting comfortable out there and getting repetitions.
“But then, I’d say one thing I still need to work on is just learning the game. There is always more you can learn. When I see Tom Brady still trying to learn as much as he can, so if a man is that good and plays that long is always trying to learn, I need to do the same thing.
As for improvement, Harmon is still young and he stands a chance to be a part of an extremely talented secondary. With the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, the Pats' secondary could support a cast of Revis, Browner, Dennard, McCourty and Harmon. In other words, Harmon has a lot to live up to this year and he knows exactly where he's going to start:
“And definitely tackling. I think some games I tackled bad, and some games I tackled well. It was just an inconsistent effort that I know I need to be a lot more consistent with.”