Marvin Harrison Jr.: The benchmark for Carolina Panthers 2024 WR scouting

Marvin Harrison Jr.
Marvin Harrison Jr. / Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatch / USA
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What does the film show of Marvin Harrison Jr.?

The first thing that I need to bring up is his size and athleticism. Marvin Harrison Jr. is undoubtedly bigger than his dad was in the pros at 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds. However, he offers some incredible athletic ability for his body type.

Harrison has a long wingspan, terrific short-area quickness, rare twitch for his size, and the vertical long speed to create big plays downfield. That alone makes him a tough task for any defensive back.

As a route runner, Harrison is as good as they come. He does an ample job being a salesman as it pertains to being manipulative with his routes and creating separation. He uses swift, subtle movements and pure head fakes to force defenders to commit their leverage inside or out, depending on the route.

The prospect displays that in the clip above. It’s important to note that he always works to make himself available to the quarterback in off-script situations. 

The former four-star high school recruit also hits his landmarks very well as a route runner. He knows when to cut his route off, break them in, or out. Some receivers will display choppy or wasted footwork when breaking at the stem of their routes, but not Harrison. There is very little to no wasted movement in this area.

One of the things that I love about Harrison is how much variance he brings at the line of scrimmage while displaying an incredible amount of suddenness against press-man alignments. There is no wasted movement when it comes to his footwork as he is very disciplined and deliberate with his releases. 

In Rob’s tweet above, you can see the body control and ball skills that are a part of who Harrison is as a receiver. It’s easy to see how soft and firm his hands are. In the five games I watched, he rarely double-catches or drops the football.

His tracking and concentration skills in contested situations are excellent thanks to his incredible toughness through the catch point and the wingspan to make grabs away from his frame.

One of the things I appreciate about Harrison is his football IQ. He understands how to manipulate defenders when working against press and off-man alignments and does a great job working into the soft spots of zone coverage to make himself available for the quarterback.

Harrison also offers a good knowledge of how to defeat the inside/outside leverage of defenders. I love his sideline awareness, which has given way to some spectacular catches on the boundary.

If you’re worried about Harrison and the competition he faced last season, don’t be. Here is a list of defensive backs he worked against in 2022 plus the Rose Bowl in his freshman season:

  • Michigan’s D.J. Turner
  • Maryland’s Deonte Banks
  • Georgia’s Kelee Ringo
  • Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. and Kalen King
  • Iowa Cooper DeJean
  • Utah’s Clark Phillips III

Harrison faced defensive backs of different physical and athletic profiles. He fared very well against these players that have or are likely top 100 selections in their respective drafts, not to mention he has consistently practiced with teammate and potential top prospect, Denzel Burke.

If only the Carolina Panthers didn't have to sacrifice significant capital to finally solve their quarterback problem.