The Jacksonville Jaguars ended up with an ultimate value grab in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft when the team selected Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison. Harrison was a player many thought could potentially be a late first round pick, but most thought at the worst he’d end up in the second round.
The Jaguars ended up with him in the back end of Round 3.
“We didn’t think he would be here necessarily this late, but there is always a reason for things,” Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said on Saturday when he was asked if he was surprised Harrison was available as late as he was. “Certain teams have different needs and certain teams like different players. Obviously, every board is not like ours or else it would be really easy to draft. We have guys where we target them, and when we said this is where we would like to get our first and second round pick from and it so happened that we got our first, second and third round picks from that range.”
The Jaguars needed help at the safety position, in the form of depth as starters Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson played well last season, but the value to add a potential future starter was too much to pass up. On the bonus side, the Jaguars think Harrison could play both safety positions in their defensive scheme.
“We can interchange him. He is probably more of a strong [safety], but he has some free [safety] capability too,” Caldwell said when asked about which position Harrison would play. “You guys noticed last year we interchanged our safeties. We weren’t just one guy down and one guy back. We feel like he can do both. He had seven career interceptions.”
While I don’t think Harrison will end up the Jaguars future full time starter at the free safety position, because they often ask that position to play center field, Harrison offers the scheme flexibility where you can disguise some coverage by flipping the safeties without too much concern, unlike a few seasons ago with Johnathan Cyprien where they were locked in.