Wide receivers have grown in popularity over the years, thanks in large part to the advancement in offenses and everyone’s favorite game — fantasy football. Even with the boon in resources sent toward the position, it’s rare for a pass catcher to lay claim as the best player in a particular NFL Draft class. Marvin Harrison Jr. is one of the exceptions.
Marvin Harrison Jr.: The Near-Perfect Prospect
In a draft class chock full of talent, especially at the game’s most important positions, such as quarterback, pass rusher and offensive tackle — it might seem odd to hear that a wideout is the best of the bunch. Harrison Jr., built well at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, flexes the physical stature of a WR1 with the innate route running ability that comes with being the son of a Hall of Famer.
During his time at Ohio State, Harrison Jr. has been a fixture atop most Big Boards. I have yet to meet anyone who grades the Buckeye standout as anything other than “superstar” material — and rightfully so. But could MHJ really be in play at No. 1 overall? Would an NFL franchise actually be willing to use the most premium of all selections on a wide receiver?
If you ask me, the answer is a resounding yes. Sure, I understand positional importance — nothing is more important than finding a capable franchise quarterback. Drake Maye fits that criteria, as does Caleb Williams. But herein lies the rub. In the 2024 NFL Draft, there’s a real chance the team picking at No. 1 isn’t in the market for a quarterback.
The Bears, Cardinals Would Be Wise To Target MHJ At The 2024 NFL Draft
Currently, the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals sit at No. 1 and No. 2 in the draft order, respectively. The Bears might finally cut Justin Fields loose and look for a replacement, but what if they opt to stick by their signal-caller for at least one more season? In turn, if the Cardinals wind up in the top spot, it’s well within reason that Arizona stands pat with Kyler Murray.
In this instance, it won’t come down to positional importance. It would boil down to the front office deciding between trading down for a haul, allowing a quarterback-needy team to jump up the board, or sticking at No. 1 and taking the best player available. That is the path toward being the first prospect selected in the 2024 NFL Draft for Marvin Harrison Jr.
Trading down is objectively the better move for a roster still trying to fill holes in several areas. However, trading down the board will almost definitely take the team out of the running for Harrison Jr. If Chicago or Arizona sees MHJ as the generational prospect that he is, passing up on him could prove to be a costly mistake going forward.
If the idea is to build up the roster around Justin Fields or Kyler Murray, wouldn’t a superstar pass catcher be one of the best possible outcomes for them?
Looking Back At History: Three WRs Have Gone No. 1 Overall At NFL Draft
Looking back at the history of the NFL Draft, a wide receiver has been taken No. 1 overall only three times, none of them in the past 25 events. That list includes:
•Dave Parks, 1964 (49ers)
•Irving Fryar, 1984 (Patriots)
•Keyshawn Johnson, 1996 (Jets)
Impressively, all three of these players went on to have great careers in the league. Multiple Pro Bowl appearances by each player highlight the fact. But with Marvin Harrison Jr., the possibilities are endless. Forget perennial Pro Bowler, MHJ has the chops to be a regular on the All-Pro teams. And he could enter that realm as early as Year 1.
I’m not one to overhype a prospect to such a degree, but Harrison Jr. is the best college player I’ve evaluated in my years of doing this. I would be willing to stake my entire career on the Ohio State star. Simply put, he is as “can’t miss” of a prospect as there has been in the past two decades.
Aside from injuries, nothing is standing in the way of Harrison Jr. becoming a top-five wide receiver in short order. His size, polished technique, otherworldly body control, and vice-grip hands are everything an NFL offense can ask for.
It would be a bold decision to take a wide receiver at No. 1 overall, but if anyone deserves it, it’s Marvin Harrison Jr. Period.