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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How Marvin Harrison Jr. compares to previous top WR prospects

This year’s draft was underwhelming at wide receiver. There weren’t any big-time prospects that are projected to be potential high-end WR1s in the NFL, at least from my perspective, even though the Carolina Panthers spent a second-round selection on Jonathan Mingo.

Before we start this section, I am going to list some of the top wide receiver prospects going back to my first year as a draft evaluator, which was in 2018.

  • D.K. Metcalf (2019)
  • A.J. Brown (2019)
  • D.J. Moore (2018)
  • Calvin Ridley (2018)
  • Jaylen Waddle (2021)
  • Ja’Marr Chase (2021)
  • Chris Olave (2022)
  • Garrett Wilson (2022)
  • CeeDee Lamb (2020)
  • Jerry Jeudy (2020)

I came into the summer evaluation of Marvin Harrison Jr. with the expectation that I was going to watch the best wide receiver in the country and a no-doubt top prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft. Not only did see both of those things, I think he might be the best prospect at the position I’ve ever watched since 2018.

Fans will argue that Ja'Marr Chase was a generational prospect, considering he was the No. 5 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021. However, he was my WR2 in a class where I saw Jaylen Waddle being the better prospect overall due to his rare explosiveness and dynamic ability as a receiver and returner on special teams.

Chase wasn’t an elite separator, didn’t have prototypical size, and had his fair share of drops.
Harrison is thoroughly a better prospect in those three areas and was the better player than the names I listed above. 

I looked through some of the names of the top receiver prospects from the six draft classes preceding the 2018 event. I can say with great confidence that Harrison would’ve been WR1 in 2015 (Amari Cooper, Kevin White, Breshad Perriman), 2016 (​​Josh Doctson, Corey Coleman, Michael Thomas), and 2017 (Mike Williams, Corey Davis, John Ross). 

The 2014 class is a little bit tougher considering how rare of a group it was and how many receivers went on to be high-level players at the position such as Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and Davante Adams. Going back on my memory, I don’t think there was a true consensus WR1 in that class during the pre-draft cycle.

I will give Harrison the edge in this group, including in the next two preceding drafts; 2012 (Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright) and 2013 (DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Tavon Austin).

This leads me to believe that Harrison is arguably the best wide receiver prospect since the historic 2011 NFL Draft that featured rare talents such as Alabama’s Julio Jones and Georgia’s A.J. Green. Both of them seemingly had decent careers in the NFL.