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Ronnie Harrison saw it all at Alabama, Jacksonville Jaguars coach says

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Ronnie Harrison saw it all at Alabama, Jacksonville Jaguars coach says

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While taking part in his first NFL offseason program, Jacksonville Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison was yearning to hit someone.

"I'm so ready for the pads to come on," Harrison said. "You can't do a lot in shirts and shorts. A lot of guys make a couple plays you probably wouldn't have made in pads, so I'm just ready to get them on and let them know what time it is."

NFL teams are not allowed to run contact drills or wear full equipment during offseason practices, taking away what was considered the strongest part of Harrison's game for his first pro work after the Jaguars drafted him from Alabama in the third round on April 27. But Jacksonville's offseason program gave Harrison the opportunity to show he was more than a heavy hitter.

"I like what I've seen so far," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said of Harrison during OTAs. "We're not in pads. I think that's a big part of his game from what you saw in college -- being able to tackle well in space. I think the thing that we're impressed with is that coming from the school that he came from, Alabama, and coach (Nick) Saban and his background being a defensive-backs coach, I don't think there's really anything you can throw at - and not just Ronnie, but any of those defensive backs that played at Alabama - there's not really anything you can throw at them coverage-wise and scheme-wise and even technique-wise that maybe they haven't seen before.
"He's matter of fact and does a good job and studies and is smart, really picking things up, so that's exciting. And now we're looking for the transfer. Obviously, we have more work to do, but we're looking for that transfer for when the pads come on and we get on the field."
Harrison will have to wait until at least July 28 to put on pads for Jacksonville. As a rookie, he'll report to training camp on July 18. The full team's third practice is the first one where contact is permitted.

That's when Jacksonville will get to see the full range that Harrison offers.

"Let me say in the classroom first, a very good student, attentive to football," Jaguars defensive-backs coach Perry Fewell said about Harrison during OTAs. "He's a good communicator and that transfers on the field also. Obviously, he has some formations, motions and shifts with our defense that he needs to experience and work on his communication with adjustments. But we see a good athlete, an instinctive athlete.

"He's very long. I like the length that he has. I like the size that he has. I think he's going to be a very physical football player. We don't know that until pads come on, but he has the traits of having the height, weight, size and speed that you look for in a good football player."
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Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash said Harrison had opened the coaching staff's eyes during the Jaguars' offseason program, which ended last week.

"He is actually, I think, a little bit better than we thought we were going to get," Wash said. "We knew he was an in-the-box safety, around the football, a physical player. But now we're seeing him in the middle of the field back in our two-shell coverages that we run and you see his athleticism really show through. He adds, obviously, great quality depth to some very good players we have back there."
Harrison said he had hoped to show he wasn't one-dimensional and could handle a variety of assignments for the Jaguars.

"I feel like that's what I bring -- versatility," Harrison said. "That's what I do the best, coming out, so you know if that's what they want to do, I'm down for it."

Jacksonville has two veteran safeties in Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson, who both have logged five NFL seasons as starters. The Jaguars also signed five-year veteran safety Cody Davis in free agency. Generally viewed as a special-teamer, Davis had done some good things with Jacksonville's defense in offseason practice, too, Wash said.
"It's going to be a heck of a battle back there at those two positions," Wash said.





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