The Indianapolis Colts sent shockwaves through the NFL on Tuesday afternoon when they announced they had waived star-linebacker Shaquille Leonard.
It didn't take long for them to fill the vacancy created by Leonard's departure. Later that afternoon they announced they signed linebacker Ronnie Harrison Jr. from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster.
The move is an interesting one, not because he was signed, but because his designation as a linebacker. Up until this point of his career, he's been a safety.
Harrison Jr. has ample experience in the NFL. The sixth-year player was originally a 2018 third-round pick out of Alabama by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He started 22 games in 2018 and 2019 with the Jaguars. He compiled 103 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions in Jacksonville before he moved on to the Cleveland Browns in 2020.
He was never able to replicate his 2019 numbers in Cleveland, but he still managed 58 tackles, a sack, and an interception in 2021.
Listed 6'2 and 207 pounds, Harrison Jr. certainly has the physical presence to make an impact close to the line of scrimmage. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Harrison Jr. has spent almost exactly half of his defensive alignments in the box with 818 snaps in the box compared to 796 at free safety.
While he certainly isn't a one for one replacement for Leonard, he's a versatile, experienced defender who is already familiar with the Colts' scheme. He could get a chance early and often to play on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the Colts make an improbable playoff run.