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Mel Kiper Jr. says Marvin Harrison Jr. must work to eliminate drops in NFL

Chandler Vesselsby:Chandler Vessels02/28/24



There’s no question that Marvin Harrison Jr. should be the first receiver taken off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Ohio State product put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in Columbus while scoring 29 total touchdowns over the past two years.

ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has Harrison going No. 4 overall to the Arizona Cardinals in his mock draft 2.0, released Wednesday. In an appearance on SportsCenter, Kiper didn’t have much negative to say about the Buckeyes pass catcher.

Still, there is one area where he would like to see him improve in the pros.

“He had some drops,” Kiper said. “He’s got to eliminate some of that in the NFL.”

Harrison expressed frustration after dropping three passes — tying his total number from 2022 — in a game against Purdue this season. Still, it ultimately didn’t stop him from being one of the best receivers in the country in helping Ohio State to an 11-2 season.

It’s clear the athletic ability and size is there for Harrison, who stands 6-foot-4. But his maturity and understanding of the game having grown up as the son of an NFL star is what really sets him apart in Kiper’s estimation.

“Marvin Harrison Jr., you love the size, the physicality, contested catches, the consistency as well,” the ESPN analyst said. “But I think the skillset he brings to the table and the mindset. Keep in mind, his dad is obviously a Hall of Famer. Brought that businesslike approach. Marvin Harrison Jr. is all about football and he’s gonna make everybody in that locker room and practice field focus on one thing, which is winning football. So his value goes beyond what he does on the football field as a player. His attitude, his approach is top-notch.”

The fit for Harrison on Arizona is also an interesting one. The Cardinals are looking for a No. 1 receiver to pair with quarterback Kyler Murray and he seems like the obvious choice.

Fellow ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller agreed with Kiper’s choice, saying Harrison should be a no-brainer pick if he’s available.

“This gives (Murray) a No. 1 receiver but also expands the strike zone,” Miller said. “At 6-foot-4, someone who is going to go get those 50-50 balls. When you watch Marvin Harrison Jr. go get some ground balls that where thrown by Kyle McCord last year. Mel references the drops. we didn’t see those his first two years. I think it’s not going to be an issue in the NFL.

“The body control is amazing to be as big as he is and as fast as he is but also have that balance and agility as a route runner. He’s really, really special. He’s a finished product. He is ready to come into the NFL right now. An incredibly hard worker. He gets what it takes to be a great pro thanks to his dad and some of the people he was able to grow up around. I think this is a slam dunk pick for Arizona. As long as Harrison Jr.’s there, this should be the pick.”

The 2024 NFL Draft is set to begin April 25 in Detroit, so we’ll see whether this spot for Marvin Harrison Jr. turns out to be a reality.