Houston Roughnecks outside linebacker Trent Harris recently received reported interest from the Broncos in the form of a rookie minicamp invitation. The report also indicated that other teams were showing interest, as well, and we now have the names of teams we can tie to Harris, thanks to Chris Tomasson of the Denver Gazette.
According to Tomasson, some of the other teams that extended an invitation to Harris include the Vikings, Ravens, and Browns. The Browns and the Vikings make sense as both teams finished last season in the bottom half of the NFL in sacks. Cleveland was only able to get consistent pressure out of star defensive end Myles Garrett. Behind Garrett’s 16.0 sacks, the Browns’ next highest sack total came from defensive tackle Taven Bryan, who had three.
Minnesota had a much more balanced attack, getting double-digit sack totals out of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith. They were even able to get eight more combined sacks out of backups D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones. All are under contract through at least this year, with Hunter and Wonnum entering contract years. Perhaps the Vikings’ interest in Harris is as an eventual replacement for one of the two.
While Baltimore tied with the Saints for fifth in the league in sacks last year, their sack numbers did not consistently come from the outside linebacker position. Aside from Justin Houston, who is no longer with the team, the Ravens’ top sack-getters were defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (5.5), defensive tackle Calais Campbell (5.5) (also no longer with the Ravens), inside linebacker Patrick Queen (5.0), and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (3.0). New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald seemingly took a page out of former defensive coordinator Don Martindale‘s playbook by manufacturing a pass rush from all over the field.
Landing a strong pass-rushing outside linebacker like Harris could add to the production of a Ravens outside linebacker group that contains Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, and David Ojabo. Harris spent almost two weeks in camp with Baltimore last year, spending all but three days on injured reserve before being released prior to the start of the regular season.
Despite the additional interest, Tomasson reports that the “ball looks as if it will be in (the Broncos’) court.” With XFL players eligible to sign NFL deals this coming Monday, May 15, Harris seemed to say that, if Denver wants him, he’ll be a Bronco. In reference to his Broncos tryout, Harris told the media, “I would assume that if I have a good workout and they want to sign me, I’d stay there.”