Measurables: 6-foot-5, 302 pounds.
2014 stats: 15 starts (RT), five sacks allowed, seven QB hits allowed, 24 QB hurries allowed.
Ryan Harris started all 45 career games at Notre Dame (37 LT, 8 RT). The Mike Shanahan Denver Broncos selected him in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. In his time with the club, he has started 34 games.
When the Broncos selected Ryan Clady in the first round the season after Harris was drafted, the team boasted arguably the best young bookend tackle duo in the NFL. In Shanahan and Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme, they both shined.
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When Shanahan was jettisoned, the new head coach, Josh McDaniels, transitioned away from the ZBS into a power-running system. Harris only started eight games in 2009 and despite being a fish out of water scheme-wise, he held his own, earning a +1.3 cumulative grade via Pro Football Focus.
He played well again in 2010 but eventually, injuries took their toll and the Broncos parted ways with him. Since that time, he’s been with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Broncos again (didn’t make the final roster), the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last season, he proved to be a durable option for the Chiefs at right tackle, playing 980 snaps. Although he earned negative marks in both pass and run blocking, his season proved that he could again be counted on to be a starter.
In May’s OTAs, when Clady was lost for the season with a torn ACL, the Broncos wasted no time in reaching out to Harris, signing him to a one-year deal. He will compete for the starting right tackle position with Chris Clark (the current starter) and 2014 third round pick Michael Schofield.
Although some believe that it’s only a matter of time before Clark loses his job to Harris, I would caution people to pump the brakes on that notion. The Broncos front office likes Clark and he’s a good fit for the ZBS the team will again be deploying under Kubiak.
Harris is a capable veteran backup. He has a lot of experience in the system, which could come in handy if injuries strike at the offensive tackle position. The question in my mind is which player will the Broncos keep on the roster as the swing tackle, assuming Clark wins the RT job going into Week 1—Schofield or Harris?
Schofield was a disappointment as a rookie, not even dressing for a single game. But it's unclear how much his lack of impact had to do with John Fox’s reticence to play rookies. Harris has the experience, but the Broncos invested a high-round draft pick in Schofield.
It’ll come down to training camp performances. Last season, the Broncos carried four O-tackles on the roster—Clady, Clark, Schofield and Paul Cornick. It’s not out of the question that they’ll do that again with Ty Sambrailo, Clark, Harris and Schofield.
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