The Jacksonville Jaguars could be without their top two cornerbacks in Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis again on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, as both are still dealing with injuries and were downgraded in practice on Thursday. With the injuries at the position, it's allowed a player like sixth-round pick Mike Harris to step into a role and excel.
In last week's matchup with the Green Bay Packers, the Jaguars rookie cornerback showed some of the playmaking ability that warranted the Jaguars to draft him, and the coaching staff wasn't surprised.
"No," Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker answered when reporters asked him if he was surprised by Harris' play on the field. "He’s done well in practice and he has been able to take it from the classroom to the practice field and then to the games, so we’ve seen him do it in practice and we feel like we can do it in the game."
One of the few positions the Jaguars seem to have good depth at is in the defensive backfield, even with guys like Aaron Ross who seem to have lapses in play, so Harris hasn't been on the field much. Against the Oakland Raiders Harris made a few plays as the slot corner, breaking up a touchdown pass and looks like he could be a long-term fixture at the nickel position for the Jaguars if he continues to play like he has.
"He’s done a nice job in practice. The game’s not too big for him," Tucker said of Harris' development. "He’s got really good instincts, a good feel for the game, he’s very, very competitive, he’s very level-headed and he has a good demeanor for a defensive back, so I like him a lot."
With all the injuries at cornerback, Harris should once again see plenty of playing time against the Detroit Lions.