Chris Harris: From Undrafted Nobody to 64th Best Player in the NFL

USA TODAY Sports

Can one of this year's undrafted free agents follow in Chris Harris's footsteps?

Since 2011, there have been 507 players drafted ahead of Chris Harris that were eligible for ProFootballFocus.com's Top 101 Players of 2012 list. 507 players that got a longer look during the scouting process, and 507 players that enjoyed some security knowing their team invested a draft pick in their success.

Harris enjoys none of those niceties. Yet according to PFF, Harris ranks above nearly all of them.

We're breaking down Broncos UDFA's this month, so it's only appropriate we highlight the success of a Broncos undrafted free agent who's deservedly getting more and more recognition of late.

We're talking, of course, about Harris, Denver Broncos slot corner and often-#2 cornerback.

ProFootballFocus.com's list is being released in pieces, and the 2011 undrafted prospect out of Kansas has been recognized as the 64th best player in the NFL. These rankings are strictly based on each player's respective 2012 performance. Says PFF --

It’s not easy being a slot corner in the NFL, so Harris deserves extra credit for handling business on the outside and coping extremely well when moving inside in the Broncos’ sub-package defense. The former undrafted free agent took his chance with both hands when Tracy Porter went down hurt, and backed up his excellent coverage work with some fine play in the run game. A complete defender already.

Best Performance: Week 13 versus Tampa Bay, +4.8

Key Stat: Gave up just 0.83 yards per slot coverage snap, sixth-lowest of all defensive backs.

Chris Harris isn't only remarkably consistent -- he finished his 2012 campaign with 12 straight games out of the "red" in PFF's rankings -- he has developed a knack for making big plays. He returned two of his three interceptions in 2012 for touchdowns -- one against Philip Rivers, and another against Joe Flacco.

Chris Harris has become the Rod Smith of the Denver Broncos defense. Like Smith, every year he'll get to watch the draft -- watch hundreds of prospects get the premature recognition he never did -- and let that chip on his shoulder grow.

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