The Patriots continued their offseason trend of signing lesser known free agents by inking former first-round draft pick Jon Harris on Monday.
The 6-7, 300-pound defensive end was the Philadelphia Eagles' top pick (25th overall) in the 1997 draft. Though most draft experts had him as a mid-round pick, the Eagles hoped he could fill the void left by the departure of Pro Bowl defensive end William Fuller. Harris played 24 games and had eight starts in his two seasons with the Eagles.
Harris' rookie season got off to slow start when he suffered an illness during training camp that caused his weight to drop to 264 pounds. Harris recovered and started four games before a toe injury caused him to miss five games. Harris was relegated to reserve duty after he recovered from the toe injury.
Harris had his best season in 1998 when the three-year veteran recorded 50 tackles, one sack, four quarterback hurries and blocked three passes in 16 games. He started four games and had a career-high nine tackles against Arizona in Week 15. In the season finale, Harris had a sack, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry that forced an interception by Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman.
Harris was traded to Green Bay in September of 1999 for tackle John Michels. He did not see any game action for the Packers, spending his time in Green Bay backing up Vonnie Holliday and Keith McKenzie.
Harris played his college ball at Virginia, where he started 19 of 45 games. He recorded 132 tackles and 14 sacks during his four-year career with the Cavaliers. Harris was the first first-round pick to sign in 1997, when he inked a five-year deal with the Eagles.