Darius Harris, LB
Pro Experience: Senior | Age: 27
Height / Weight: 6’2” / 238 lbs
Harris was originally signed by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent after the 2019 draft. Since that time he played in a utility role for Kansas City until 2022. This past season, once linebacker Willie Gay went out with suspension, Harris got the chance to start four games.
Harris answered the call, playing well in Gay’s absence:
Highest graded Chiefs in Week 5 win vs Raiders:— PFF KC Chiefs (@PFF_Chiefs) October 11, 2022
Chris Jones - 91.3
Patrick Mahomes - 82.6
Darius Harris - 81.2
4️⃣Creed Humphrey - 73.5
5️⃣ Mecole Hardman - 72.1 pic.twitter.com/BTJ88dvnHC
And he seems to have the appropriate mindset for a depth player who is willing to do whatever needs to be done to get on the field:
“You can’t just be still at one thing,” noted Harris. “Obviously, to get on the field you’ve got to be ready — for me — at any position. That way I’m able to be the next man up and be able to get me some playing time, whether it’s at the MIKE, SAM, or WILL [linebacker positions].
“You know — just being versatile. I feel like that’s a good trait and being able to understand the assignment and execution of each position in order to get on the field and make plays.”
In late September, Arrowhead Pride did a nice film review of Harris’ play against the Colts.
While the first loss of the Kansas City Chiefs season falls on the shoulders of the offense and special teams, the defensive group wasn’t perfect either. It was without Willie Gay Jr., as he served the first of a four-game suspension in Week 3. Darius Harris stepped in to take the starting duties, and he picked up where he left off in preseason.
Harris finished with a game-high 13 tackles while Nick Bolton was right behind him with nine, and Bolton contributed two sacks as well.
They were tasked with slowing down arguably the best running back in all of football and they answered that call.
In 2023, Harris became a restricted free agent, but the Chiefs decided not to tender him. His tender would have cost the Chiefs $2.6M, and the word is they might like to have him back for around $1M. If Washington could beat that offer, perhaps they could entice Harris away from the reigning Super Bowl champs.
- High football IQ
- Can run the defense and is an effective communicator on the backside.
- Brings special teams ability immediately.
- Has positional versatility across the linebacking slots.
- Plays with strong football instincts.
- Has good play strength.
- Had a shoulder injury in 2019 that probably impaired his ability to get drafted.
- Still fairly inexperienced as a defensive starter.
- Can take less than ideal angles in coverage at times.
Let’s See His Work
Defense makin' early moves! Darius Harris recovers the fumble pic.twitter.com/XiA9GOtosr— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) October 16, 2022
The undercover plays that ignited the comeback pic.twitter.com/bKKRX05hLW— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) October 12, 2022
Darius Harris caused a glitch in the Matrix https://t.co/gGeeH7Fo0c— Scott Loring (@ChiefsChannel) May 2, 2023
Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo was asked about LB Darius Harris in coverage on 12/8 pic.twitter.com/KfDfFYhOll— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) December 18, 2022
Darius Harris went undrafted in the 2019 draft class.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 5, 2019
Darius Harris posted a Okay #RAS with Okay size, Okay speed, Okay explosiveness, V.Poor agility at the LB position.#Chiefs pic.twitter.com/HuuFsJeyFb
How He Could Fit
Looking at Washington’s current roster, one of the spots that looks ripest for a straightforward upgrade is LB3. Currently that role is occupied either by Khaleke Hudson or David Mayo, after the addition of Cody Barton earlier this offseason. Washington fans have been repeatedly vexxed that the team didn’t add anymore LBs in free agency (beyond Barton) or the draft, and even John Keim has suggested that the team is likely to pursue one in this second free agency period.
The reality is, in terms of low-priced depth LBs, the current crop of free agents is pretty thin. Possible options might include Jaylon Smith, Anthony Barr, and - of course - Harris. I suspect that Eric Bieniemy is probably pretty familiar with Harris, and that he could provide the team unique insight into his cultural and schematic fit.
On the defense, the linebacking depth is perhaps the only roster area that could be reasonably improved at this point in the offseason. I’d love to see the team pursue a guy like Harris to try to elevate that floor.
Would you be interested in seeing Washington pick up Darius Harris this offseason?
This poll is closed
Yes, and I’d offer $2M.
Yes, but for not much more than $1M.