New Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon, selected No. 91 overall in the third round of the NFL draft, spoke to the media via conference call.
Did you expect to be on this call tonight? Did you expect to be drafted in the second or third round?
DH: Well, to be completely honest, me and my mother talked right before the draft and she told me to go into the draft with a clear mind, to expect anything because we serve a big God, a God that answers prayers and does anything that you ask if you’re doing it in his name. And that’s what I did: I prayed before the draft. I said ‘God, put me in a position where I can be successful. Put me in a position where I can help a team and go to a team that’s going to win games and hopefully play for a long time.’
How would you describe what the past few hours have been like for you?
DH: To tell you the truth, they’ve been very exciting. I’ve had a great feeling about today. I just have been excited. I was there just sitting with my mother, my little sister and two of my closest friends and we’re here just sitting there, watching this draft, not with any expectations and watching it somewhat as a fan and just enjoying the moment. This day has really been a great day.
So you didn’t necessarily have any expectations, so were you prepared to potentially go undrafted?
DH: I was prepared for anything. If undrafted was the case, then so be it. I know that, like I said, I serve a big God, a God that’s always taking care of me, always done the things that I’ve needed to be done for myself. I had no worries about this situation. If I was going undrafted, I had enough confidence in my abilities to where I knew that I could still be able to make a team and help a team win some games.
You said that you were watching the draft from home. Did you kind of laugh when you saw that they didn’t have any video on you?
DH: Yeah, I did. My mother, she was very excited. She was like ‘Oh my baby. Where’s your clips at?’ I was like, ‘Mommy, I don’t think they knew I was going today, so I don’t think they had any clips ready for me.’ She was a little upset about me not having clips, but I think me getting drafted just overtook her sadness about my clips.
Why do you think that was the case that you flew so far under the radar?
DH: To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I just play with great players. You have Logan Ryan on the same defense as me. You have Steve Beauharnais, a great middle linebacker. And then you have Khaseem Greene, Big East Defensive Player of the year, so it can be easy for a good player to fly under the radar. But obviously the New England Patriots saw something in me that they liked and they went with it and took their [inaudible]. I’m nothing but appreciative that such a great organization would have that much faith in me to come in and help the organization win games.
What do you think they saw in you?
DH: To tell you the truth I think they saw a great character person who plays hard and who is versatile. I think I do a lot of things that they like. I’m not just an in-the-box safety and I’m not just a free safety; I can play both positions, and I’ve shown that over the years at Rutgers.
Will it make a difference to you or even your mother that you know quite a few players on the team?
DH: I don’t know how much she’s looking into that. I know she was very excited that I’ll get to be playing with Logan, because our families are pretty close. They sat by each other at the games, so just the idea that she’ll know a couple of people I play with, I think she is probably excited about that. And then we have Justin Francis, also on the team and Devin McCourty; my mother knows them as well. So I guess you could say she’s pretty excited about me not going to a place by myself, and knowing that I have people I can lean on, big brothers like Devin McCourty and Justin Francis, guys who have gone through what I’ll be going through that I can lean on and ask for help, different type of advice I might need being a rookie in this league.
Have you talked to Justin Francis or Devin McCourty since you got drafted?
DH: Actually, yeah, I talked to Devin. It’s crazy because I saw the 508 number calling me and I didn’t get to answer it. I called back thinking it was the Patriots. I called back and he was like, ‘Duron?’ and I said ‘Yes, sir, this is Duron.’ He said, ‘This is Devin, man. Don’t answer the phone like that. This isn’t anybody from the Patriots office.’ It was kind of exciting talking to him. He said he’s very eager to get me up there. He’s very eager to teach me what he knows, help me with the defense, basically just eager to play with me again. I talked to Justin Francis not too long ago. He just told me he is excited for me and he told me that it’s a place where they work. There’s no time for games – it’s a place where they work. The ultimate goal for them is to win Super Bowls, it’s not to win games, it’s to win Super Bowls. I talked to Logan [Ryan] and he was just excited that he and I get to play together again and we get to start our rookie years off together.
What are your thoughts on playing for Coach Belichick?
DH: I’m very excited. You just look at his track record – he is a winner and he knows how to win. I’m excited to play for somebody like that. He’s proven he has the philosophy, the mindset to win games. Just to come into the NFL and be lucky enough to play for a coach like that is just unbelievable. A lot of people do not get that chance. He’s a hall of fame coach and I’m just excited to not only play for him but to soak up all the knowledge that he gives to all of his players.
What is your mom’s name?
DH: Dawn Harmon.
Did the Patriots appear to have more interest in you than other teams?
DH: I think I picked up quite a bit of interest over the last couple of weeks. I definitely knew the Patriots were interested; I didn’t know how interested. I didn’t really know how interested anybody was. I knew they liked my film; they liked the way I worked out so I knew anything was possible.
Why do you think there are so many Rutgers players that come to the Patriots and play well?
DH: To tell you the truth, I think it all has to start with [former Rutgers] Coach Greg Schiano. He’s instilled in his players a great football mindset. We know how to prepare for games. We prepare like professionals at Rutgers University – that’s something that he’s instilled in all of us. I think a lot of players when they get to the NFL, they don’t know how to watch film, they don’t know how to practice, they don’t know how to do the certain things that you have to do to be a great football player. I think Coach Schiano instilled that in us and I think Coach Belichick saw those characteristics from Rutgers football players. He knows what he’s going to get from the Rutgers football players. I think he has gotten that consistently over the years. I think that’s why he has seriously taken great looks at Rutgers football players.
How well do you know Steve Belichick and how do you feel about working with him again?
DH: We had a great relationship. Steve, you could tell was a smart man, just the way that he was on the field, the way he understood football. He was somebody who would, when I would come to the sideline, he would tell me what maybe I didn’t see out there that he did see and give me different types of tips. I think it will be great to work with him again. He was a great person and I’m just excited to get back to work with him.