Plenty of safeties have been linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their pursuit for NFL Draft success. However, there’s a day two option who could give the Bucs the flexibility to trade back or take a player at another position of need.
Ronnie Harrison from Alabama would likely represent the second straight safety taken in the second-round by Jason Licht and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering the success they had with the first one though, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Let’s take a look.
Harrison’s College Career
Alabama has churned out some pretty impressive defenders in recent years, so the fact Harrison was a starter as a sophomore in 2016 is incredibly impressive. It also shows the young safety isn’t afraid of the spotlight.
In his three years playing for the Crimson Tide, Harrison racked up over 100 tackles, seven interceptions and had three and a half sacks. All but one of those came in his final season of collegiate football.
He appeared in 14 games all three seasons and had at least three takeaways in each.
Like last year’s second-round selection, Justin Evans, this safety has shown the ability to play in run support and in pass defense. In fact, he may be better in pass defense than Evans was at this point and is just as impactful as a tackler.
This man can flat-out hit. Some of the knocks on Derwin James as an enforcer type revolves around his willingness to let the ball carrier attack him.
Harrison does the opposite. He attacks. It will surely draw the occasional flag during his career, but his aggressiveness when punishing ball carriers will be something fans love and opponents hate.
Had just as many tackles for losses as he did interceptions in his career with seven of each. He also accounted for 17 passes defended as part of one of the best defensive backfields in the SEC.
He already possesses a well-rounded skill set. It’s just going to take the right coaching to maximize his potential.
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What is there to maximize on? Well, aggressiveness and attacking.
It’s great to have a safety who can lay the hammer down. If the Falcons are in town, Harrison can probably put a shoulder on Mohammed Sanu and make him regret crossing paths with the rookie.
If Julio Jones is coming in, he’s more likely to bounce off the shoulder tackle and run for a 60-yard touchdown.
Harrison has to learn how to diagnose his target accurately and quickly in order to determine when to lay the stink on someone, and when to wrap up to prevent the score.
Think back to the NFC Divisional Game. If the Saints’ Marcus Williams properly diagnoses the situation, he wraps up Stefon Diggs and plays it safe. Instead, he’s young and understandably looks for the big hit. So, he lowers his head and looks to punish the Vikings receiver.
We all know what happened. Williams will be ok. So will Harrison. But they both have to learn that lesson.
Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Ronnie Harrison
Potentially getting him in the tail end of the second or early third only makes him that much more of a steal.
Will It Happen?
Really, this is going to depend on who’s on the board and who’s on their way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft party when Jason Licht goes on the clock for the first-time day two.
If the Bucs go offense – say, Saquon Barkley – in the first, then yes Harrison could certainly be the second-round pick.
However, if Licht goes Derwin James or Minkah Fitzpatrick, then I’ll win the lottery before Harrison gets drafted by the Bucs.
I’m not going to lie, part of me hopes he does get drafted and wears the number 27. He shares the best last name in all of the lands and 27 is my favorite number a defensive back can wear. I’m sure David Rivers can find a new number.
Admit it. Part of you cares about that last part.
What are your thoughts on Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison? How would he fit with the team, and what are the chances he lands in Tampa during the 2018 NFL Draft?
Sound off in the comments or on social media.