The 2019 wide receiver class is going to be a tough study. There are so many good options in all shapes and sizes, but none may end up having a more complete profile than North Carolina State’s Kelvin Harmon.
However, he is far from being the consensus top option in the 2019 NFL Draft. As I do every year, I’ve been conducting an early Twitter Rookie Poll Mock to gauge consensus values on this draft class. Harmon actually dropped a bit further than expected.
If you had Pick 1.05 in your #FantasyFootball Rookie Draft today, who would you pick?
— Travis May (@FF_TravisM) January 15, 2019
Yes, pick 1.05 in rookie drafts isn’t super low by any means, but it’s interesting considering his impressive profile.
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As A Recruit
Harmon wasn’t marked for greatness when he entered college. In fact, according to the 247Sports’ composite ranking, he was just a three-star recruit, ranked 88th at the wide receiver position in the country for the 2016 recruiting class. That didn’t even put him in the top 500 incoming freshmen in the country. Harmon did receive offers from other big-name schools like Miami, South Carolina, Indiana, and more, but it was certainly a surprise when he dominated college football from a very early age.
Harmon didn’t come in and demand the majority of receiving targets in year one for the NC State Wolfpack, but he certainly made his presence known. Then, of course, he absolutely dominated for the two years that followed.
Statistics from sports-reference.com.
It is one thing to look at a box score, and another entirely to understand how exactly a player wins and makes that production happen. So, like I do with all top wide receivers, I took a close look at an eight-game sample to find what makes Harmon so great.
The first thing that a lot of people notice is that he lines up almost exclusively from the right wide receiver position and think that somehow means that he is limited. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Harmon runs 12 different route variations from that right wide receiver position with great success.
He also converts at every depth of the field. Harmon dominated the intermediate portion of the field, grabbing nearly 60% of his receptions for gains of six to 15 yards. But he also took about 26% of his receptions for more than 15 yards as well.
If you’re into dominator rating (essentially overall percentage of team receiving production), Harmon accounted for about 29% of NC State’s receiving offense in 2018 as well. He checks yet another box there.
Overall, Harmon showed off in college as a balanced producer whose only fault may be that he didn’t line up in a wide variety of pre-snap positions.
The NFL Combine has yet to happen, but it’s clear that Kelvin Harmon is quite the specimen at 6’3”, 215 pounds. He’s already been compared to Julio Jones, and it’s not just hyperbole. Harmon’s flexibility, adjustment to the catch, and impressive afterburners are all put on display when you watch his tape. But don’t just blindly believe me. Check out some of his highlights from this season here:
- Excellent route running diversity and mastery beyond just the simple “go” and “curl” routes like many big wide receivers in this draft class.
- Flexibility that helps him bend smoothly through his breaks and adjust well to the ball at the catch point.
- Unbelievable hands to make grabs well outside his frame, diving, leaping, twisting, and snagging regardless of where the ball is thrown.
- Solid ball tracking out of his route stems and going deep to complete tough catches over his shoulder and even in traffic when necessary.
- Manipulates defenders well. Can create five yards of space against press man coverage on a curl. Can force defenders into the wrong direction with subtle head fakes and hard jukes to get inside or outside leverage.
- Limited experience outside of the right wide receiver position. If he goes somewhere where positional multiplicity is necessary there may be a learning curve.
- Even though he does have excellent hands, Harmon sometimes lets the ball come into his body in contested situations. That needs to be cleaned up just a tad.
Whether it makes sense to or not, the NFL Combine will have a significant impact on Harmon’s final draft stock. However, as it stands now, most mock drafts and experts are projecting him to be taken anywhere from the early first to late second round in the NFL Draft.
Harmon has the agility, burst, strength, and size that many general managers are going to want to see. All he has to do is simply not absolutely blow it in the 40-yard dash and his upper echelon draft stock should be a lock. If he runs in the mid 4.5-second range, that would be all he needs.
Harmon is considered by many to be one of the top five wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft class. He may fall slightly depending on landing spot, but it’s likely that he settles in as a valuable dynasty commodity immediately after the NFL Draft.
Expect him to be selected anywhere from 1.01 to 1.08 in rookie drafts this year. He should be going inside the top 80 picks in a startup under just about every circumstance unless he is injured in the pre-draft process (knocks on wood).
He is one of just a few wide receivers who could make an instant impact on most NFL teams, and he should be valued that way. Calling him the next Julio Jones may be a bit presumptuous, but if anyone is going to be that guy in the 2019 class, it will likely be Harmon.