Chris Harris Jr. hasn’t always been a dominant defender. To earn his Pro Bowl nods, All-Pro honors and Super Bowl win, Harris persevered through adversity, from going undrafted to having friends tell him he should quit football.
RELATED: Chris Harris Jr. Didn’t “Get a Real Job.” He Became a Champion Instead
But when the Denver Broncos invited him to their training camp, Harris came ready. While playing on the scout team, he intercepted so many of Tim Tebow’s passes that coaches actually asked him to take it easy on the team’s QB. Harris earned a roster spot, played in all 16 games as a rookie and only got better from there–even after he tore his ACL during the 2013-2014 season.
RELATED: Why Chris Harris Jr. Says Suffering a Torn ACL Made Him Better
“When you tear your ACL, you kind of have to re-teach the whole leg how to work. I kind of re-taught myself how to run, how to fix my mechanics and the fundamentals of running. Little things like that. Now I feel faster and quicker,” Harris said. “[I worked] on having fast feet, good strides, drive—anything I could to get faster.”
Today, Harris is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Pro Football Focus gave him an NFL-best overall score of 91.7 at his position.
Harris says that his footwork—the fast, fluid steps he developed during his recovery—is what keeps him ahead of his opponents. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound All-Pro gave STACK an inside look at his footwork drills—and now you can use them to improve your performance.
Cornerback Footwork Warm-Up
Harris prepares for his footwork and agility workout with a dynamic and ladder warm-up, matching the movement patterns he will execute during his workout. To have a great dynamic warm-up and workout, perform the exercises shown in the videos below.
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Foam Roll Glutes, IT Band, Quads: 1×30 seconds each
Jog to Backpedal: 1×20 yards
Upward Dog to Downward Dog: 1×5
Skips: 1×20 yards
Backward Track Skip: 1×20 yards
Scorpion: 1×3 each leg
Alternating V-Up: 1×3 each side
Line Hops to Sprint: 1×4 (10 Skips + 5-yard Sprint)
Glute Stretch to Runners Stretch: 1×3 each side
Quad Stretch: 1×3 each side
Core Rotation With Side Kick: 3×3 each side
High Knees: 1×20 yards
Butt Kicks: 1×20 yards
Speed Ladder Warm-Up
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Single-Leg Lateral Skip (stick landing): 1×1-2
Ickey Shuffle (stick landing): 1×12
Explosive Ickey Shuffle (stick landing): 1×12
Reactive Hurdle Hops to Sprint: 3×4 Hurdles + 10-yard Sprint
Ickey Shuffle to Sprint: 1×12
Crossover Shuffle: 1×1-2
Crossover Shuffle (stick landing): 1×1-2
Harris then moves on to defensive back footwork and reaction drills. These cone drills help him get faster and more agile in coverage.
Agility Cone Drills
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Place four cones in a 5-yard box. Backpedal from Cone 1 to Cone 2. Sprint across the box to Cone 3. Crossover step from Cone 3 to Cone 4. Sprint across the box from Cone 4 to Cone 1 and have a partner throw you a ball.
Set/Reps: 2×1 each direction.
Box Reactive Drill
Place four cones in a 5-yard box. Sprint as fast as you can to the cone your partner calls out. Face your partner throughout the drill.
Set/Reps: 2×1 each direction
To see more variations of the Reaction Drill, check out the video above the article.
90-Degree Break Drill
Transition between Backpedal and Sprint. Change direction on your partner’s cue. Face your partner throughout the drill.
Backpedal and spin around Cone 2. Sprint forward to Cone 2. Backpedal to Cone 3. Sprint to Cone 4 and shuffle to Cone 5. Backpedal around Cone 6, then sprint down the field.
Set/Reps: 2×1 each direction