NFL Coaches Doubt Marvin Harrison Jr.'s Speed, Label Him 'Casual

2024 NFL Draft: Insights on Marvin Harrison Jr.'s Prospects.

by Faizan Chaudhary
NFL Coaches Doubt Marvin Harrison Jr.'s Speed, Label Him 'Casual
© Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Marvin Harrison Jr. may not be the first name called for wide receivers in the 2024 NFL Draft, primarily due to concerns about his top-end speed, according to NFL insiders. Despite his undeniable skill set, some NFL coaches believe his speed might not be as explosive as expected from a top draft pick.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported an NFL offensive assistant's comments on Harrison, noting the young athlete's decision to skip all pre-draft speed drills. "Marvin is really good, very polished. The only drawback is his speed; he's not going to outrun defenders easily," the coach said.

"He comes off a bit casual because he skipped the drills. It's something teams will note when he’s at the top of the break." Harrison, who avoided participating in the NFL scouting combine and Ohio State’s pro day for on-field testing, chose only to have his measurements taken at the combine.

This unusual move has left some questioning his physical attributes, particularly his ability to generate significant yards after the catch—a key metric for evaluating potential NFL receivers.

Harrison's Improved YAC

However, data from last season suggests Harrison may have addressed these concerns on the field.

Trevor Sikkema from Pro Football Focus highlighted that Harrison improved his yards after the catch average to 6.4 in 2023, up from 4.2 the previous year, demonstrating his growing expertise in this area. Despite the ongoing debates about his speed, Harrison's technique remains highly regarded.

Derrik Klassen, in a Bleacher Report scouting profile, pointed out that while Harrison's slight frame might limit his impact after the catch, his overall talent is undeniable. The B/R NFL scouting department even ranked him as the No.

1 overall player for the 2024 draft class. Comparatively, current NFL star Davante Adams, who ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash as a prospect—a figure not typically associated with elite speed—has shown that top-end speed isn't the sole determinant of a successful NFL career.

Adams' masterful route running, combined with his sure hands, has made him arguably one of the best receivers of his generation. That makes Marvin Harrison Jr. look good to be a runner of exact routes, using his body and footwork to differentiate him and consequently catch the football reliably. That would make him a standout prospect in the upcoming draft regardless of the trepidation some have about his speed.