Fresh off a career-best, three-sack performance last Sunday, Shelby Harris is our featured Broncos player on this week’s player profile.

Not only did Harris sack Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins three times, he also forced a fumble. In doing so, he became the seventh Broncos’ player ever to record three sacks and a forced fumble in a single game. Harris’ teammate, Von Miller, has accomplished this feat on three separate occasions with the last occasion coming on September 9, 2018 vs. Seattle.

On the strip-sack play, Harris got the pressure on Cousins and stripped the football in just 2.59 seconds.

“He’s just been playing better. If you keep playing good, the opportunities will come,” head coach Vic Fangio explained. “He’s just playing good. I think he’s more comfortable playing within the defense.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Harris earned the third-highest grade of all NFL players, grading out at 92.1 (of 100). Consequently, Harris made the PFF all-defensive team of the week. The 92.1 that Harris earned is the second-highest grade of his career, with the first coming vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12 of last season when he graded out at 95.3.

While his present is going well, let’s rewind to his past to see how Harris got to the Mile High City. Harris was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin. Rated as a four-star recruit out of high school, Harris played his college football at Illinois State. He made his impact felt in his three seasons as a Redbird, compiling 173 tackles, 14 sacks, one interception, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

Harris’ aspirations of playing professionally came true when the Oakland Raiders selected the defensive lineman in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Things didn’t exactly go as planned for Harris as he was cut four different times by the Raiders and was later cut once by both the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

Being cut six different times in your first three NFL seasons can undeniably wear on you. Harris endured this trying time before finally breaking through with the Broncos in 2017. After signing with the team in the offseason to a futures contract, he played in all 16 games, starting six, and finished second on the team with 5.5 sacks. The highlight of Harris’ season may have come in the regular season opener when he blocked a potential game-tying field goal to help preserve the Broncos win over the Chargers.

Following the superb 2017, Harris responded with another quality year in 2018, once again playing in all 16 games and set a career-high with 39 tackles. In Week 12 against the Steelers, Harris had a key interception with a minute to go in the game and the Steelers knocking on the door at the Broncos two-yard line. The pick solidified the victory for Denver, who won 24-17.

2019 has been no different as Harris has continued to blossom in a Broncos’ uniform. He’s up to four sacks on the season, six passes defended and five tackles for a loss, while accumulating 36 tackles and starting all 10 games.

Through 11 weeks, The Broncos are allowing the fourth-fewest yards per game in the NFL, but allowed 27 second-half points to the Vikings last Sunday.

“We can’t use the excuse that the offense didn’t put up points. That loss is on us today. We made a lot of mistakes in the second half,” Harris said postgame.

Harris and the Broncos will take a trip northeast to play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at 11:00 AM MT. Keep an eye on No. 96 as he’s bound to make some big-time plays.