It was only a month before the NFL draft that Mike McCarthy was singing the praises of DuJuan Harris:
“Oh he’s going to play for us next season. That’s his responsibility if he wants to be the starter… Once he got ready, I felt great about the way DuJuan finished the season. Looking forward to having him for an offseason and look for good things for him.”
March was a good month for Harris. You couldn’t go two clicks of the mouse without finding a feature on Harris. JSOnline did a feature piece on him and what he was doing to prepare this offseason. Our own Adam Czech posed the question, “Real Deal or Flavor of the Month?”
And then the draft happened.
The Packers added not one, but two dynamic running backs in the first four rounds of the draft. Before a down has been played, Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin are already being described as the “Thunder and Lightning” tandem the Packers haven’t seen since Hornung and Taylor.
Rob Reischel of JSOnline.com wrote a fine piece the other day titled, “There’s a Storm Brewing in Packers Backfield.” It was a well-written and informative piece, but I had one problem with it; there wasn’t even a mention of DuJuan Harris. He’s suddenly the Rodney Dangerfield of the Packers’ backfield.
You have to feel for DuJuan Harris. If you’re reading articles here, you surely know his story. Undrafted free agent, cut by the Jaguars, cut by the Steelers, gets a job selling cars, seemingly forgotten by the NFL. Then Ted Thompson calls. He lands on the Packers’ practice squad and about five weeks later is signed to their roster and was a surprise contributor in December and January.
I was a big fan of Harris’ running style; a quick-hitting no-nonsense runner; something the Packers haven’t had in a while. I can’t say I was confident he was the “real deal” three-down running back Mike McCarthy has professed his desire for, but at the same time, I was excited to see how he develops next season.
Well now what? Does he even get a fair shot?
It’s a bit ironic, actually, that I’m the guy writing this, as no one wanted Johnathan Franklin on this team more than I. I even predicted the Packers would take him in the second round (not expecting Lacy to be there, of course). Now the Packers have them both. While surely the handwriting is on the wall for James Starks and possibly even Alex Green, what of Harris?
My guess is that he’s shown enough that even if he can’t make this suddenly crowded at running back Packers’ roster, he won’t have to return to selling cars anytime soon. He’ll be playing somewhere next season.
And who knows, if the Packers give him a full opportunity, perhaps this suddenly forgotten man will surprise us all next training camp.——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.