By Michael Stets
ALLEN PARK – Lions GM Bob Quinn made his first trade of the 2019 NFL Draft in Round 3, dealing the team’s No.88 and No.204 picks to the Minnesota Vikings and moving up seven spots to take Boston College safety Will Harris at No.81.
Harris was a three-year starter. He earned third-team All-ACC honors after finishing his senior season with 75 tackles and one interception. He started 41 games for the Eagles, but finished his college career with just five interceptions and seven pass defensed. The Suwanee, Ga. native comes from football bloodlines. His father, Will, played receiver for Mississippi State and was drafted in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills in 1993.
A captain on the Eagles in 2018, Harris will provide competition for the Lions’ safety group (Quandre Diggs, Tavon Wilson, Tracy Walker, Charles Washington and free agent newcomer Andrew Adams), which for the first time since 2012 will be without Glover Quin, who was released in February after six seasons in Detroit.
“This guy is a passionate football guy,” said Lions GM Bob Quinn, who is very familiar with the staff at Boston College. Quinn shared a story about a scouting trip that sold him on Harris’ leadership qualities.
“I remember going to practice and like I said, I know a bunch of staff members for honestly probably 15 or 20 years. You go there and Boston College had a pretty good list of prospects this year, so there was a lot of guys to talk through, including guys that are probably a little bit bigger, I would say, names. One guy went in the first round (Christopher Lindstrom, Atlanta Falcons). Zack Allen (Arizona Cardinals) went today.
“Really the first guy that a lot guys mentioned to me was this guy [Harris]. [They said], ‘This is the guy who is like the heartbeat of our team.’ Not that the other guys were bad. They weren’t because they have a lot of good football players and a lot of good leaders. This guy was voted captain on that team, on that defense. So that spoke volumes to me.”
Harris is familiar with Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, who coached the defensive line at Boston College from 2016-17. On a conference call with local media, Harris said he’s “ready to rock” and it “worked out perfectly” that the Lions drafted him.
“I’m excited about [playing in] the [Lions’ defensive] scheme,” Harris said. “I believe it’s very versatile. There’s a lot of things that can be done in the scheme. It’s not stagnant at all. It’s very diverse. It’s very fun. So I can’t wait to learn the playbook and get started.”
The NFL Draft resumes on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET with Round 4 – Round 7. The Lions next pick is No.111.