The next player to appear on our rankings of the top 25 New York Jets is the team’s longest tenured defensive player and the unquestioned leader of the defense, linebacker David Harris. Harris turned in another quality season for the Jets last year, providing his usual excellent run defense and playing a major role in keeping things organized. At 30 years old, however, there are some major questions about Harris’ future with the team.
Harris posted a nearly identical statistical years in 2012 and 2013, recording 123 tackles, 3 sacks and 1 forced fumble in the former, and 124 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble in the latter. Harris has led the Jets in tackles in four of the last five seasons, and he is the most likely candidate to do so again this season. Harris is at his best against the run, and his performance was a vital part of the Jets’ third ranked run defense.
However, age has begun to take its toll on Harris’ coverage abilities, which were frankly limited to begin with. Luckily for the Jets, Demario Davis provides an excellent complement to Harris. However, Harris is entering the final year of his contract, and it remains to be seen if the Jets will bring him back, especially if he gets more one dimensional. If Harris turns in another solid season, it would seem reasonable for the Jets to bring him back on a short term deal, but that issue likely won’t be addressed till after the season.
For now, it is best to evaluate Harris for what he is, which is a smart, physical, run stuffing linebacker who also provides valuable leadership and intangibles on the field and in the locker room. Few players on the team have more value to the Jets, and although Harris is likely on the downside of his career, he absolutely deserves a spot among the Jets’ best players. Harris is no longer at an All-Pro level, but he remains the Jets’ best linebacker and a very valuable asset.
Previously: No. 25 Bilal Powell, No. 24 Kenrick Ellis, No. 23 Geno Smith, No. 22 Dawan Landry, No. 21 Jeff Cumberland, No. 20 Antonio Allen, No. 19 Quinton Coples, No. 18 Calvin Pryor, No. 17 Michael Vick, No. 16 Willie Colon, No. 15 Dee Milliner, No. 14 Calvin Pace, No. 13 Breno Giacomini, No. 12 Nick Folk, No. 11 Demario Davis, No. 10 Jeremy Kerley, No. 9 Chris Johnson, No. 8 Chris Ivory