Damon Harrison is a big man, a big personality, and — most importantly — a big reason why the New York Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season.
Let’s check in on “Snacks” as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-Man Roster.
2016 Season In Review
Harrison was named All-Pro for the first time in his five-year career, though he was somehow snubbed for the Pro Bowl. Harrison had career highs in tackles (89) and sacks (2.5), but those numbers only hint at how good he was.
The Giants were second in the league in yards allowed per rush attempt (3.5) and yards allowed rushing per games (87.8) last season. In 2015, they gave up 4.4 yards per carry (23rd in the NFL) and 121.4 yards rushing for game (24th).
Players like Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul had a lot to do with that. The biggest reason, though, was the presence of the 6-foot-4, 350-pound Harrison.
Pro Football Focus has named Harrison the league’s best run defender in each of the last two seasons. PFF says:
His last two seasons have provided the highest run-stop percentage figures we have ever recorded for a defensive tackle over the past decade of grading. In 2015, Harrison notched a defensive stop on 18.1 percent of his snaps against the run; this past season, he did it on 15.8 percent.
He racked up 49 defensive stops in the run game this season, 10 more than any other defensive tackle. That mark tied the record for the most PFF has ever recorded for a defensive tackle, breaking a record he set himself a year ago. Only eight other defensive tackles could even get within half of Harrison’s tally over the season, and he played fewer snaps against the run than many of them.
In the past 10 years, the number of times a defensive tackle has posted more than 40 run stops in a season reads: rest of the NFL, one; Damon Harrison, two.
There is simply no more disruptive force against the run than Damon Harrison, who is not only able to hold the point of attack and affect running lanes by moving blockers back, but actually shed those blocks and make stops in the hole himself, rather than simply open up opportunities for other players to make the play.
If you want more, PFF’s Mike Renner recently took an even deeper look at what makes Harrison special.
2017 Season Outlook
There is little reason to expect a drop off in Harrison’s play. He is still in his prime at age 28, and the former undrafted free agent is still motivated by those who doubt him. The Pro Bowl snub and only placing 96th on the NFL Network Top 100 players list are more motivation for “Snacks.”
96 on the top 100 is pure disrespect. 95 other players better than me? No worries...I got u. Nobody is safe. #SnacksSeason keep sleeping— Damon Harrison (@BigDame900) May 9, 2017