Where Marvin Harrison Jr. ranks amongst last five No. 4 overall picks in NFL Draft history

Where does Marvin Harrison Jr. rank amongst No. 4 overall picks from the last 5 NFL Drafts?
2024 NFL Draft - Marvin Harrison Jr
2024 NFL Draft - Marvin Harrison Jr / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals stood pat and selected one of the best wide receiver prospects in recent NFL Draft history in Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.  The son of NFL Hall-of-Famer Marvin Harrison Sr., MHJ will also have the challenge of living up to the comparison of another NFL legend in Larry Fitzgerald.

Selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Fitzgerald lived up to every expectation with the Cardinals both on the field and off the field.  In selecting Harrison Jr., the Cardinals are seeing some of the same traits in the No. 4 overall pick who was drafted exactly 20 years after Fitzgerald.

Not only is the skillset and potential there to be one of the NFL best receivers Day 1, but Harrison Jr. also has an off-the-field aura to him that will remind longtime Cardinals fans of Fitzgerald. He is a player who produces, plays the game with professionalism and has a quiet tone to his persona like how his father was during his days with the Indianapolis Colts.

These are the comparisons that will always be made for Harrison Jr. who won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wideout.  The challenge is to etch his own name into Cardinals franchise history and NFL history.

NFL Draft History: Ranking the No. 4 overall picks in the last 5 NFL Drafts

In looking back at the last 5 NFL drafts, where does Marvin Harrison Jr. rank among the No. 4 overall selections? 

The positions have varied as far as players selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the past 5 drafts, but as the first position player off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft, MHJ really has a chance to shine as one of the best top 5 picks in NFL Draft history.

No. 5: Anthony Richardson, 2023 No. 4 overall pick of the Indianapolis Colts

The jury is still out on quarterback Anthony Richardson.  In playing just 4 games in his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts, this No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft could still rank on this list when all is said and done.  But given that he is coming off an injury plagued Year 1 in the NFL, the exciting QB talent is essentially repeating his rookie season in 2024.

In those 4 games played, Richardson showed some promise.  He completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 577 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.  He did show the struggles of a rookie QB, but there were glimpses of that dual-threat ability that had him as one of the top quarterback prospects in that 2023 NFL Draft class. 

With offensive talent around him and fully healthy, Richardson is expected to take off in Year 2.  So far, there hasn’t been enough to weigh what the Florida product will be in the NFL either way, just high hopes if you are a Colts fan.

No. 4: Andrew Thomas, 2020 No. 4 overall pick of the New York Giants

Drafted with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, tackle Andrew Thomas came out of the University of Georgia as the top tackle in that class.  Given his size (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) and overall talent, it was tough to argue, but did Thomas live up to his expectations as a top 5 pick?


Thomas has been solid so far in his NFL career.  The Giants tackle was named second-team All-Pro in 2022 which helped land him a five-year extension worth $117.5 million before the 2023 season.  While the rest of the Giants O-line hasn’t been exactly stellar, Thomas has settled into that left tackle role allowing just 17 pressures in 376 pass-block snaps per PFF.

If the Giants can improve the offensive line around him, Thomas will continue his trajectory as one of the best left tackles in the NFL.

No. 3: Kyle Pitts, 2021 No. 4 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons

Selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts put together a Pro Bowl rookie season with 68 receptions for 1026 receiving yards and a touchdown.  He followed that season with an injury shortened season in 2022 in which he played just 10 games.  He did bounce back a little in 2023 with 53 receptions for 667 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts
Kyle Pitts / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

While he lived up to the bill in his rookie season, Pitts still haven’t reached the height of his position.  The Falcons haven’t had stability at QB which has played a role, so it is interesting to see if and how much Pitts flourishes in a new offense lead by offensive coordinator Zac Robinson and the addition of veteran QB Kirk Cousins. 

Overall, with his size and athleticism, Pitts should be able to put up similar production as his rookie season.  He does have the tools to be one of the top tight ends in the league.  Perhaps now is his time to really shine.

No. 2: Marvin Harrison Jr. , 2024 No. 4 overall pick of Arizona Cardinals

Obviously, Marvin Harrison Jr. hasn’t played a snap in the NFL, but based on potential and what he brings to the table, NFL Mocks ranks the Ohio State product at No. 2 on this list.

As a player who has shown he has elite playmaker capabilities, MHJ has the maturity and football IQ to step in right away and be a WR1 in the Cardinals offense led by Kyler Murray.  Again, he’ll have the pressure to live up to a couple of legends in Harrison Sr. and Fitzgerald, but his work ethic and approach to the game will help set his own standard as to the player he will be in the NFL.

The question is not whether Harrison Jr. will be a solid contributor in the NFL, but whether he can challenge the next player on the list as the best No. 4 overall pick in recent NFL Draft history.

 No. 1: Sauce Gardner, 2022 No. 4 overall pick of the New York Jets

The New York Jets hit the jackpot when they selected Sauce Gardner with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Already a two-time first team All-Pro selected and two-time Pro Bower, the 2022 Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year is just getting started in his career and its scary. 

Although he has just two interceptions in his first two years in the league, his 31 pass defenses over his first two seasons in the NFL has him ranked as the top corner in the NFL by PFF. 

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"Gardner had arguably the most impressive start to a career for a cornerback in NFL history," PFF senior analyst John Kosko said, via the Jets official website. "Having quickly transformed the Jets secondary into the best unit in the NFL, the Jets star has earned a 92.1 coverage grade and allowed only 0.53 yards per coverage snap over the last two years, both of which rank first among all cornerbacks in the league."