Oct 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) during the second quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Chancellor and Thomas are each now among the best defensive backs in the entire league, and Gray had a hand in their early development.
Gray now has his hands on Harrison Smith, and he thinks Smith may soon be mentioned in the same breath with the Seattle duo.
“I think you’ll see him as one of the top safeties in the league,” Gray said per Ben Goessling of ESPN. “Him and Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, they were all drafted around the same time, and now they’re going to be in there about the same time. That’s a sentence you want to be in, if you’re Harrison.”
Entering year three of his career, Smith will be a popular pick as breakout player of 2014. He was a popular pick as breakout player of 2013 but a turf toe injury put him out for much of the season, momentarily hampering his ascension.
Mike Zimmer’s scheme would seem an ideal one for taking advantage of Smith’s versatile skill set. Gray promises that we’ll see more of those various skills on display this year.
“We’re going to get him more involved,” Gray said. “He’ll be blitzing some. He’ll be covering some. He’ll be in the middle of the field. The thing that we’re trying to do right now is, figure out what he’s best at, and then put him in that position.”
Harrison Smith became a very good safety in his first two seasons despite being coached by the maligned team of Leslie Frazier, Alan Williams and Joe Woods. What can he do with Mike Zimmer, George Edwards and Jerry Gray identifying his strengths, refining his technique and pushing him to the next level?
Sky is the limit for Harry Smith.