SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 23: Marvin Harrison Jr. #18 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is defended by Cam Hart #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium on September 23, 2023 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 23: Marvin Harrison Jr. #18 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is defended by Cam Hart #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium on September 23, 2023 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Marvin Harrison Jr. Doesn’t Like To Go Out of His Way

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COLUMBUS, OHIO – NOVEMBER 18: Offensive lineman Miles Walker #76 of the Ohio State Buckeyes lifts wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. #18 off the ground while celebrating a touchdown in the third quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio Stadium on November 18, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images)

While the rest of the free world is busy kissing Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.’s helmet, I am here to shed some light on the mainstream narrative. I am going to dare to write something different than the choir.

Keep in mind, I’m not doing this for clicks. My end game is to get back into the NFL.

Is Harrison talented?

Yes, he is.

Is Harrison a first-round talent?

Yes, he is.

Is Harrison a top-5 value?

No, he’s not.

Why not?

Game film.

Harrison has it all from the neck down

Just about everybody will tell you Harrison is the best thing since sliced bread. This is why over 99% of mainstream draft platforms have him as a first-round pick and currently the ‘consensus’ No. 4 pick overall.

The 33rd Team (that was founded by one of my bosses back with the Jets, Mike Tannenbaum), CBS, NBC Sports Chicago, Fox Sports, The Athletic, NYPost, USA Today, Pro Football Focus, Bleacher Report, Pro Football Network and Draft Kings ⎯among others ⎯have all put a top-5 grade on Harrison just since December 1.

Even during the Notre Dame game, the television commentator said, “NFL Scouts call him comically good.”

The issue is when Harrison dogs it on film.

SAY WHAT?

Yes, he’s talented, but he’s an underachiever. In other words, he doesn’t run every route or go after every pass with the same intensity he shows he’s capable of.

The problem is, that Harrison looks like a possession receiver in the short-to-intermediate route levels, but he doesn’t make himself much of a deep threat on film. He isn’t running away from defenses after the catch on film. The problem is, he doesn’t show much fight for contested passes on film.

This isn’t Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss.

Catch rate concern

The issue?

While it’s impressive Harrison maintained similar production with former Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud and QB Kyle McCord in back-to-back seasons, there was a difference in catch rate which supports what’s on film. Stroud’s ball placement was precise. McCord, not so much.

2021 (with Stroud): 11 catches on 20 targets (55%)

2022 (with Stroud): 77 catches on 119 targets (64.7%)

2023 (with McCord, Devin Brown, and Lincoln Keinholz): 67 catches on 117 targets (57.2%)

College career = 155 catches on 256 targets (60.5%)

Note to NFL teams: Harrison ideally needs a QB who can deliver precise downfield ball placement.

Note to NFL teams: Harrison and McCord were high school teammates.

Draft day value

Harrison did not blow me away (well he did on two plays in eight games). I can’t justify valuing him higher than former Ohio State receivers Garrett Wilson (2022: No. 10) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (2023: No. 20). He has the lazy streak Chris Olave (2022: No. 11) showed on film.

Harrison is a lab mix of the three of them.

Harrison will make a solid receiver whose game film values him in the range between pick No. 10 ⎯ No. 20.

#18 Marvin Harrison Jr. 6-foot-4, 205 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: First-Round (I would select him)

Projected by 99.1% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of January 15, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

Marvin Harrison Jr. Possession Receiver or Home Run Hitter? (6 games evaluated in 2022)

Game film reviewed (2023): Penn State, Maryland, Youngstown State, Notre Dame, Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Michigan (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

NFL comp: Somewhere between Michael Westbrook (285 receptions) and Keyshawn Johnson (814 receptions)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

No. 1 on a roster who can line up out wide or in the slot. Lack of wow moments. Uses imposing size, cat-quick release, physicality, natural strength, and hands to consistently achieve route leverage in the short-to-intermediate route levels. Finds the soft spots in zone coverage. Strong hands. Fluid hips. Body elasticity. Crisp change of direction with quick choppy feet. Above average catch radius. Flexible adjustments, ball tracking, and concentration. Flashes speed and acceleration. Mixed results deep. Average blocker.

Final words

Harrison will not be as good as his dad and he will not end up in the Hall of Fame. He doesn’t want it that badly.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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