Right off the bat on his first play as a Packer after being promoted from the practice squad — where we hear he had been showing intriguing flashes — RB DuJuan Harris showed he belonged, zipping through the line for an 11-yard gain in the Week 14 win over Detroit.
In every game since, with RB coach Alex Van Pelt force-feeding the stocky 5-foot-7 street-pickup on the finer points of his position in practices and team meetings, Harris has gotten better and better, emphatically proving that he’s a legitimate NFL back.
“He must not have liked selling cars because he’s running hard. He doesn’t want to go back there,” 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Harris, who was working at a car dealership in Jacksonville, Fla., a little less than three months ago. “And he’s running like a man who likes the current job he has and wants to keep it. He’s running very good for them. They’ve stumbled onto a good running back and they’re running the ball better now than they had been earlier.”
The consensus among our Packers sources is that, while Harris might not be tabbed next season as the featured back — a role he has filled more than adequately in the season’s late stages both rushing and receiving out of the backfield — he has shown enough to figure as an intriguing piece of the team’s versatile offense moving forward.
As for Van Pelt, who apparently was like a kid in a candy store after quickly realizing Harris was the real deal, team sources tell us he deserves major praise for the job he has done this season coaching a RB corps that one insider said was “a revolving door” because of injuries.