The 2022 season for the Las Vegas Raiders was meant to be something special, and as we all know, it did not turn out that way. There were blown leads and an inability to be consistent throughout the season. There were some bright spots in a tough year. One of these bright spots was safety Duron Harmon, who came over from New England and became arguably the best player in the secondary.
Going From Depth To Everyday Starter
Harmon appeared to be brought in to help mentor the young secondary. Former first-round pick Johnathan Abram had been struggling; meanwhile, 2021 second-rounder Trevon Moehrig had a solid campaign as a rookie. Still, after just eight games in 2022, it was clear that Harmon was no longer just a mentor but an invaluable cog in the secondary. Abram was cut, and Moehrig was clearly regressing in an unexpected way.
The struggle was evident as Las Vegas stumbled out to a 2-6 start. Just like that, all the hype about the offseason evaporated. The former Rutgers Scarlet Knight ended his season, according to ESPN stats, with 63 total tackles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and five pass deflections. Considering that the Raiders intended Harmon to be the third safety, those are respectable numbers.
The Most Memorable Moment For Raiders DB Duron Harmon
The Raiders sat at 1-4 coming into a home game against the Houston Texans. So, there was some talk as to who would show up. Josh McDaniels’ team was two weeks removed from a Monday night battle with the Kansas City Chiefs. If you recall, they appeared to be going in the right direction. The game was close through the first three quarters as the teams kept each other at bay. After a quarter and a half with only a field goal, the teams combined for 17 points in the last six minutes and twenty-two seconds of the half.
Harmon was doing his part as he was flying around and had a total of six tackles in the game, as well as a deflection. With the fourth quarter beginning, the Raiders found themselves down, but two scores gave them some breathing room. With three minutes and forty seconds left as the Texans were driving, Harmon slammed the door shut. He picked off Texans quarterback Davis Mills and returned it 73 yards untouched for his first career defensive touchdown. The moment was feel-good as the Raiders finally closed a game, and it was Harmon’s first career touchdown.
What’s Next For Harmon?
Duron Harmon signed a one-year contract last offseason, so he is a free agent. His solid play could entice many teams to offer him a deal. He is, after all, one of the better free agents available. Now, depending on what they offer, the Raiders could lose a player who exceeded expectations. Harmon is 32 and may not play for more than a few more years, but with the uncertainty around the team right now, it would behoove the team to try and lock him in now. Like last season, he’d provide much-needed depth and familiarity with the team.
Harmon could possibly be able to mentor the younger players, as he was brought in to do. Given how quiet the team’s brass has been in free agency, maybe the Raiders are simply waiting for the right moment.
*Top Photo: Getty Images