MOBILE, Ala. — The edge rusher was an integral part of Michigan’s dynasty over the past three seasons, and picked up where he left off in the Senior Bowl.
Jaylen Harrell is a big ball of hate off the edge, and takes pride in making quarterbacks eat grass. It’s hard to argue against that when he generated two sacks against Indiana, and also put the quarterback to the turf against UNLV, Bowling Green, Penn State, Maryland and Iowa.
From shedding blockers, to batting down passes at the line of scrimmage, Harrell excels in a variety of ways of when it comes to disrupting the timing of an offense. He’s always around the ball, and even recovered a fumble in last Saturday’s game. Harrell believes he put together a solid week down in Mobile, and wants to continue improving his draft stock.
“I just want to show my versatility, how I’m able to jump in coverage, set the edge and get after the passer,” Harrell said. “There are a lot of great edge rushers here, and I’ve been learning from each and every one of them, picking their brains, just competing and getting better.”
Harrell felt he could’ve done better in his one-on-one drills, but thought he was solid against the run and pass. The former three-star prospect understands there’s more to being an edge rusher in the NFL, besides getting after the quarterback. So he’s willing to do whatever it takes expand his skills and thrive at the position.
“You have to be unselfish obviously, and willing to do different things,” he said. “Sometimes as a d-lineman you might not get the credit that all the receiver and other players get, but you have to be fierce, do multiple things, be a game-changer and be relentless.”
Harrell is confident that he has all of those qualities, and will thrive at the next level. He likes to watch defenders in the pros too, such as Slex Highsmith, T.J. Watt, Nick Bosa and Von Miller. In his mind he’s an unfinished product, so Harrell anticipates he’s only going to get better. In the meantime he want to continue improving his hands, leverage, and doesn’t want to get bored with the basics.
Playing under Jim Harbaugh should benefit him through this draft process also. After all, Harbaugh preached mental-toughness, molded him into the player he is today, and taught him how to be a winner. Which is why Harrell is forever indebted to Harbaugh and Michigan.
“He (Harbaugh) is one of my favorite coaches ever, coach got unique personality, he’s a winner and he’s a big culture guy, so he brought out the best in us everyday,” the 21-year old said. “He’s a phenomenal coach, I’m blessed to have had him, and he’s going to do great things in LA.”
Harrell felt comfortable when he competed with the best of the best down in Mobile because several of his teammates were there too, including Roman Wilson, Trevor Keegan and A.J. Barner. They all went out on top as Wolverines too. That’s why Harrell wants to represent the program well at the next level, and could care less about the naysayers putting an asterisk next to their season because of the sign-stealing scandal.
“We don’t listen to the haters, that’s kind of why we’re so successful, it really just sparked a fire in us, made us closer and better.”