When teams have injuries they often have to turn to the NFL scrap heap for help, grabbing players off the street or the practice squads of other teams. Once in a while when you do that, and the Giants have been forced to do it all too often in recent years, you come away with a useful player and not just one who can fill a roster spot for a couple of weeks.
That appears to be the case for the Giants with cornerback Mike Harris. Let's look closer at Harris as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
2014 Season in Review
After two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars during which he played in 31 games and started eight, the 2012 sixth-round pick was cut by the Jaguars at the end of the preseason. He eventually hooked on with the Detroit Lions, but only as a member of their practice squad. After the Giants suffered season-ending injuries to slot cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride, the Giants plucked Harris off the Detroit practice squad on Oct. 29. He eventually took over the slot cornerback role from an ineffective Jayron Hosley, playing in the Giants last five games.
Harris, 26, said going from playing regularly to being on a practice squad was "definitely" humbling.
"You go from preparing to play each and every week to sort of taking a backseat role and helping other guys prepare throughout the week and watching the work that they put in and flourish on Sundays," Harris said during OTAs. "It's a little humbling for you to step back and be able to realize that it's a very cherished opportunity. You've gotta cherish each and every moment of it."
Harris certainly made the most of his opportunity with the Giants. In 224 snaps, he ended up with a +0.3 Pro Football Focus grade (+1.3 in pass coverage) and 74.6 passer rating against.
"I came in and just tried to do as much as I could to help the team win and I was so happy to play a little bit the later part of the season," Harris said.
"I think I was able to put some good things on film last year. I think if I wouldn't have I wouldn't be here right now. I feel good about what I did last year, I'm just trying to continue to build and get better each day."
2015 Season Outlook
The Giants and the oft-injured Thurmond went their separate ways in the offseason, with Thurmond joining the Chip Kelly's in Philadelphia. The Giants also watched backup corner Zack Bowman leave via free agency. They made no major moves in the draft or free agency to fortify the depth at corner, or to specifically address the slot corner role.
McBride appears to be getting first crack at the slot corner job. Harris and veteran Josh Gordy also are in the mix there, as well. Harris, 5-foot-10, 188 pounds, appears best-suited for the slot but also played some on the outside during his rookie season in Jacksonville.
"Any opportunity is a good opportunity in this league. All you try to do is come out every day and put your best foot forward, then you'll be able to live with the results," Harris said. "I'm definitely trying to come in and start from scratch and establish myself all over again."
Harris should, at the least, find his way onto the 53-man roster as a reserve corner and special teams contributor. He could even find himself as the team's slot corner.