It shouldn’t be any surprise that the Pittsburgh Steelers went out and signed a veteran tackle with some NFL experience in order to replace Jerald Hawkins, who suffered a torn quad during OTAs last week. The third-year player was expected to take over the swing tackle job this year.
The truth is, though, that the team didn’t really have anybody with much experience. 2017 was Hawkins’ first on the field after spending his rookie season on injured reserve—which will now be two times in three years. Between himself and Matt Feiler, I believe they logged about…10-15 snaps at tackle last season, and thus in their combined careers. Rookie Chukwuma Okorafor, for obvious reasons, does not add to that total.
So at least in adding Bryce Harris to the roster, they have somebody that they can turn to that has been in a game before. Originally going undrafted in 2012, he was signed by the Atlanta Falcons but ended up spending the next three years with the New Orleans Saints instead after they signed him off their division rival’s practice squad.
That is where he has received the vast majority of his previous playing time, though according to Pro Football Focus, it hasn’t been very good. And his most recent season of meaningful playing time was also his worst.
During the 2014 season, Harris started two games, but logged 392 snaps. The site does not credit him with surrendering a sack, but he did allow seven quarterback hits, and 19 additional hurries. His 26 pressures allowed on 256 snaps in pass protection means that he allowed a pressure more frequently than once in every 10 snaps. For comparison, Andrew Whitworth allowed nine pressures in 532 snaps in pass protection in 2014.
Harris’ only other season with meaningful playing time came the year before, in 2013. He started one game that year, but logged 247 snaps. He saw 110 snaps in pass protection, and allowed 11 pressure that year for about the exact same rate as before, only this time one of those pressures was a sack.
He did not make the Saints’ roster the following year, but the Falcons—remember, the team that originally signed him—claimed him off waivers. He spent the 2015 season with them, but was only active for one game, logging just 14 snaps.
As with the year before, Harris didn’t make the roster for the Falcons, but this time nobody claimed him. He was unsigned for the first month of the season, but then spent several weeks with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being released again, claimed by the Miami Dolphins, with whom he spent two weeks. He was unsigned for most of December.
He spent the 2017 season mostly bouncing around with the Saints again. He spent a cup of coffee in between multiple signings with New Orleans in San Francisco and Detroit. The Saints signed him in the offseason this year, but obviously released him yet again. By my count, he has been released a dozen times in his career, about half of them by New Orleans.