Disrespected on draft day, Harmon knew he could reach this point


HOUSTON -- So few people saw Duron Harmon as a viable NFL player that when the Patriots drafted him in the third round of the 2013 draft, neither ESPN nor the NFL Network had highlights to show. 


If you’ve watched the draft before, you know that’s saying something. They’ve got video ready to go for kickers, punters, big-name guys, potential undrafted free agents, everyone. Except for a safety out of Rutgers, apparently. 

Yet as he prepares to play in his second Super Bowl, Harmon said that he always felt he would be a capable NFL player. Going to the Patriots, he says, was an added bonus that’s made his career that much more enjoyable. 

“I feel like I always could play in this league. It’s always about you and it’s always about you continuing to try and get better,” Harmon said Tuesday. “I feel like that’s my attitude since I was young, so I feel like I would have been an NFL player, but I would say just being under Coach Belichick, he’s made me a much better football player.”

At the time of his selection, Harmon had a good sense of humor about the lack of footage. He knew the lower projection that was placed on him, and when his pick was announced, he laughed when his mother asked where there wasn’t any footage of him. 

Looking back now, Harmon still laughs, but he says he took the funny moment as a slight, a reminder that people didn’t think he was an NFL player. 

“Definitely,” he said when asked if he was offended, “because at the time I felt like I was a good player and I felt like I was good enough to be drafted where I was taken, so it’s just like, it sucked, but at the same time you can’t do nothing about it, so I just did what I’d known best to do, which was work. I would say being here, being around guys that continue to put in that work, continue to grind, it just made me be a lot better because I fit in.”

Sunday will provide Harmon the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl for the second time in his four-year career. He says he owes a lot to the man who spent that draft pick on him. 

“I’ve never been challenged the way he’s challenged me,” Harmon said of Belichick. “I’ve never been coached the way he’s coached me. He just expects excellence, and just having that on you all the time, it can either break you or it can make you a better player. I really feel like it’s continuing to just help me be a better player. The player I am has a lot to do with coach Belichick.”

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