As usual, the University of Alabama has several former players who will be selected in the first few rounds of this year’s draft and safety Ronnie Harrison figures to be one of them. With the Pittsburgh Steelers expected to address the safety position in this year’s draft, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Harrison told the media on Sunday that he’s scheduled to have a formal interview with them later in the evening at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“I met with them informally,” Harrison said of the Steelers. “I’m supposed to meet with them tonight, I believe.”
Harrison, who has been mocked a few times to the Steelers in the first-round by a few major media draft analysts so far this offseason, measured in at the combine on Saturday at 6-2, 207-pounds and with 33 3/8-inch arms. While many view Harrison as primarily a strong safety at the NFL level, he said Sunday that he’s position flexible and thus can play the deep free safety spot as well.
“I did it all, pretty much,” Harrison said. “I’m comfortable doing both. Whatever a team needs me to do I can step in and do it. Whether it be in the box covering tight ends, I can do that, or if it’s in the back-end, I’m comfortable with that.”
While Harrison feels he has the versatility to play both safety spots, it appears as though most teams view him more as a fit at the strong position.
“Right now I’ve just been getting the question of which one I’m uncomfortable with,” Harrison said. “I’m comfortable playing either one. A lot of the times they’re looking at me at strong safety though.
While Harrison didn’t name any big-name tight ends that he was able to shut down in coverage this past season when asked to do so, he did say he thinks the practice time he received at Alabama against former tight end O.J. Howard his first few years in college shows he can cover great tight ends in the NFL. Does he think he can cover New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, however?
“It would be a matchup, but I could learn to do it,” Harrison said.
Harrison was asked to reveal on Sunday what he plans on getting across to NFL teams he meets with when it comes to describing how he plays.
“I’m just trying to show them that I’m a tough player,” Harrison explained. “That I’m smart, I communicate a lot in the back-end, make a lot of calls. I’m just a smart player with a lot of instincts.”
In his three seasons at Alabama, Harrison recorded 177 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. He also registered 7 interceptions and 17 total pass breakups in 44 career games.
Harrison was also asked on Sunday what two games he would tell NFL teams to watch of his from this past season.
“The Auburn game,” Harrison said. “Even though we lost I had a pretty good game that game. And I would say the LSU game.”
Harrison had seven total tackles in that loss to Auburn and was recognized as an offensive player of the week by the team’s coaches for that performance. As for the game against LSU, Harrison had six total tackles in that game in addition to an interception and a half a sack. He earned SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors for his play in that game.
The last time the Steelers drafted a player out of Alabama was in 1998 when they selected cornerback Deshea Townsend in the fourth-round. We’ll have to wait several more weeks to see if Harrison winds up being the player to end that Alabama drought in Pittsburgh so in the meantime, we’ll have to settle for watching him go through the combine drills on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis with the rest of the draft hopeful defensive backs.
You can watch Harrison’s entire combine media session below:
— Joe Everett (@JoeWEverett) March 4, 2018