Chris Harris Jr. joined the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He then began the “No Fly Zone” with Aqib Talib. When most of the secondary core dispersed throughout the years, Chris Harris Jr. kept the Broncos defense thriving till the day he left. Both Vonn Miller and him were selected to the NFL’s All Rookie Team in 2011 and are now also going to be selected on the “All Decade Team” representing together. Chris Harris Jr. is part of only four undrafted cornerbacks in NFL history to make four Pro Bowl’s with the same team and is one of only twelve Broncos with at least twenty career interceptions. He also finished with two Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl Championship with the club.
During the final weekend of September last season, Chris Harris Jr. started showing frustration, when the Broncos faced Gardner Minshew in a 26 to 24 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. As he was leaving the locker room, he was heard saying, “Thirteen more weeks for me”. Elway made the decision not to pay the thirty year old 15 million per season propelling him to move away from the organization.
Now joining the division rival of Denver, the Los Angeles Chargers, Chris Harris Jr. settled for a two year deal worth a maximum of 19.5 million dollars with less than half guaranteed. He will be reunited with his first position coach in the NFL, Ron Milus, who is now the Chargers defensive back’s coach. Chris Harris Jr. will also be joining a strong secondary on the enemy’s side. Names that include, safety Derwin James, cornerback Desmond King, and two time Pro Bowler cornerback Casey Hayward Jr.. Michael Davis will also be at the cornerback position and had two interceptions in twelve starts just last season. At their safety position, they will have Nasir Adderley and Rayshawn Jenkins. Jenkins played ninety nine percent of the snaps in 2019 and Adderley is looking to make big plays next year.
In the Mile High City, the Broncos acquired cornerback AJ Bouye for two seasons costing the organization thirteen million for the next two seasons. They also traded for five time Pro Bowler, Jurrell Casey, who is under contract through 2022 and is a cheaper option than free agent defensive tackle D.J. Reader. The Broncos organization also gained Graham Glasgow for the right guard position at twenty six million guaranteed. After releasing quarterback Joe Flacco, the Broncos grabbed Jeff Driskel for two years costing the club five million dollars. From Superbowl 50, only four players remain on the team. Those players are outside linebacker Von Miller, place kicker Brandon McMannus, tight end Jeff Heuerman, and linebacker Todd Davis.
Some possible options for the cornerback position in the draft are C.J. Henderson from the Florida Gators, Kristian Folton from LSU, and Bryce Hall from Virginia. At twenty one years old and weighing in at 204 pounds, 6’1 tall C.J. Henderson has been turning heads at the combine. His 4.39 time in the forty yard dash showed up on tape during games. He plays aggressively and uses his height to attack the ball at the catch point. His speed allows him to cover a lot of real estate and he knows how to blitz and can play press coverage. He only had 6 interceptions in three years having zero in 2019, but he possesses skills to become an excellent cover man which compensates for his lack of tackling and run support. He made the First Team All-SEC in 2019, Second team ALL SEC in 2017 and 2018. Another option from the combine is twenty one year old Kristian Folton from LSU. Weighing in at 198 pounds and six feet tall, Fulton could excel at the cornerback position for the Denver Broncos. He appeared in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl and the 2020 National Championship. He was chosen for the Second Team All-SEC in 2019 to play. In his senior year, he made thirty eight tackles, one tackle for a loss, four pass defections and one interception. He excelled in press man and can play cover two zone. Twenty two year old Bryce Hall is another prospect from the upcoming draft that could be an option. He is 6’1 and is weighing in at 200 pounds. He is perfect for a zone heavy scheme in the NFL, and is extremely competitive on the field. He also contributes to special teams and excels as a run defender in situational press coverage but had an ankle injury which limited his senior season to just 6 games. He made the First Team All ACC and Second Team All American in 2018. In 2016, he made the Athlon Sports First-Team Freshman All ACC.
The Denver Broncos recently obtained cornerback, AJ Bouye, from the Jaguars and will be entering his eight season in the NFL. Bouye gained a Pro Bowl nod after getting 6 interceptions in 2017. The Broncos also have at the cornerback position, Devante Bausby, Duke Dawson, Isaac Yiadom, Shakira Taylor, and Alijah Holder being on the practice squad. No one can replace Chris Harris Jr. but the Denver Broncos will have to try.