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The addition of Chris Harris Jr. gives the Chargers a potentially special secondary

Chris Harris Jr. was one of the best free agents available and ended up choosing the Los Angeles Chargers as his destination for 2020 and beyond, giving the team quite the group of defensive backs.

The initial fit was a curious one. When Harris appeared on the PFF NFL Podcast at the Super Bowl, he told us that he wanted to play somewhere that would let him move back inside to the slot so that he could become a do-it-all playmaker again. The Chargers, though, already have Desmond King II on the roster, who has two seasons with a PFF grade north of 85.0 on his resumé. But it appears as though Harris will be playing inside and King will be transitioning to safety — where a lot of teams had projected him coming out of college.

That gives the Chargers a collection of extremely impressive and versatile defensive backs, which is more critical in their division than any other, given the presence of Kansas City‘s Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Patrick Mahomes

Since entering the NFL, Harris’ career has been a pretty wild ride. He was undrafted out of Kansas but stuck on the Denver Broncos‘ roster, where he won the job as slot corner pretty much immediately.

By his second year, his play had been so good that he was an every-down player, playing outside when the team was in base defense before kicking inside to cover the slot when they went to nickel or dime personnel packages.

That’s how things continued until 2019 when he played exclusively on the outside under Vic Fangio, and all of these developments in his role were earned by excelling at the job he was given.

Since entering the league, Harris has the second-best overall PFF grade among all corners, narrowly trailing only Richard Sherman. While Sherman has always had a stable role within his defense — rarely even moving across the field, let alone into the slot — Harris has changed roles and responsibilities multiple times across that span. He is the only corner in the top five in terms of grading that has seen extensive time covering the slot.

Highest PFF grade among cornerbacks (2011-19, min. 500 snaps)

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