Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines 2019 NFL Draft prospect, wide receiver N’Keal Harry and a technique that he needs to maximize his strengths.
Michael Crabtree, Cooper Kupp, Michael Thomas, and JuJu Smith-Schuster as successful examples of NFL ‘tweeners who a primarily slot players but can do specific work on the perimeter despite lacking top speed. Although Smith-Schuster appears quicker, he’s the option who most resembles N’Keal Harry on this list.
Harry understands that his size and strength are tools. Watch him push-pull this cornerback aside at the line of scrimmage so he can earn initial separation on a vertical route up the sideline, and it’s clear that he recognizes when to be physical.
However, Harry must take this mindset to another level if he wants to win in the NFL. Strategically, Harry opted to use his size and strength on this play. He could have built on it with a better position on the trailing cornerback within the first five yards of his release.
Stacking defenders is a vital part of running vertical routes, especially for receivers who lack great speed. I’d be surprised if Steelers rookie James Washington is slower than Harry, but he’s not the desired 4.3-second speedster fans expect from a vertical threat. Even so, he was one of the best deep-ball receivers in college football during the past 2-3 years.
Harry is still young enough that he may not know himself as an athlete relative to top athletes at this level. Or, he’s still developing along the lines of figuring out how to make the most of his strengths so they cover up his weaknesses.
Harry will win from the slot, but we haven’t seen an NFL team since New Orleans use a big slot receiver who only played that position. When Harry learns to stack consistently, he’ll be tough to stop outside or inside.
This analysis of Harry is only the beginning of what you’ll find every year in the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication. For most in-depth analysis of skill players available, get the 2018 Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each. You can pre-order the 2019 RSP beginning in December.