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Chris Harris Jr. ranked the NFL’s best slot corner by Sports Illustrated

How’s that for some respect? Chris Harris Jr. was once Denver’s best kept secret, but the former undrafted free agent has become one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks.

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NFL: Super Bowl 50-Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Rodney Dangerfield of cornerbacks, Chris Harris Jr., is slowly getting that respect around the league. He made the NFL’s Top 100 Players List and is also recognized as the NFL’s best slot cornerback by Sports Illustrated.

Here is what SI had to say about Harris and his shutdown ability from the slot position. He plays outside extensively too, but few players are as dominant from the slot than Chris Harris, Jr.

No cornerback in the NFL gives his team as much functional versatility as Harris, who’s actually been among the best slot corners in the NFL for the last few seasons. In 2013, he allowed a 65.6 passer rating on 393 slot snaps and didn’t give up a single touchdown while registering three interceptions. In 2014, he gave up 20 receptions on 32 targets for 143 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a 59.8 opposing quarterback rating. Those numbers put him near the top of the slot list, but his performance in ’15—a season in which the Broncos won the Super Bowl on the back of their defense—saw him on another level. Harris allowed 20 catches on 35 targets on 335 slot snaps, with no touchdowns, two interceptions and an opposing QB rating of 43.4. So, over the last three seasons, quarterbacks throwing to Harris in the slot have no touchdowns and six picks.

SI isn’t the only national media outlet to give Harris his due, Pro Football Focus has been beating that drum for years now.

For a guy who constantly has to grind out that respect, it’s nice to see a consensus form around one of the NFL’s best defensive backs. So much so that his five-year, $42.5 million contract extension is considered a steal for the Denver Broncos.

The No Fly Zone has incredible talent at every starting position for at least one more season, so expect Harris to thrive under that as teams are unable to avoid going after Harris in games.

Here is SI’s entire top ten:
  1. Chris Harris Jr.
  2. Patrick Robinson
  3. Kareem Jackson
  4. Brandon Boykin
  5. Patrick Chung
  6. Tyrann Mathieu
  7. Bryce Callahan
  8. TJ Carrie
  9. Malcolm Jenkins
  10. Captain Munnerlyn