The downsides to Marvin Harrison Jr. should make the Arizona Cardinals stop and think

Marvin Harrison Jr. is an outstanding prospect no doubt, and if he enters the 2024 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals will strongly consider taking him.
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18)
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

You never often hear the potential drawbacks regarding receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., but when you read copious scouting reports, you will be surprised at just how many writers and scouts have come to different conclusions regarding the 21-year-old’s potential weaknesses. Further, the eye test from my own experience in watching the Arizona Cardinals potential top pick in 2024 has led me to believe his motor isn’t always churning at 100 percent, and that’s always a red flag regardless of who the prospect is. 

The NFL Scouting Department at Bleacher Report cited his frame. At times, a lanky frame will make receivers at the NFL level nothing more than players who will basically give you nothing more than a catch before they are dragged to the turf. Here is what the article stated regarding Harrison’s build.

"“Additionally, Harrison's frame makes him easy to bring down on first contact. He can still make people miss in space on occasion and he has home run speed in the open field, but he's not going to be bullying DBs for extra yards very often.”"

Derrik Klassen

Source: Marvin Harrison Jr. NFL Draft 2024: Scouting Report for Ohio State WR, by Derrik Klassen

This implies that he could potentially wind up as nothing more than a possession receiver, and while he has outstanding speed, we can name one player on the Cardinals right now with such speed who has struggled through the same issues: Receiver Rondale Moore. Now, Harrison has much more size than Moore, but frame-wise, there isn’t as much deviation, and the last thing we need is to waste a high draft pick on someone who may not be a game breaker. 

Arizona Cardinals need to correctly evaluate Marvin Harrison Jr.’s downsides

Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network also mentioned Harrison’s lack of size and the possibility he could create little following the catch, again leading us to potentially believe he may not perform to the game breaking ability we routinely saw at Ohio State. The following weakness is also something that led me to my own conclusion of calling Harrison “lazy” at times, and it’s something that Cummings also implied with the following statement:

"”Doesn’t always play to his rumored 4.38 speed when given chances to break away.”"

Ian Cummings

Source: Marvin Harrison Jr. Draft Profile | Ohio State, WR Scouting Report

Once again, this shows us that Harrison may not always play to 100 percent, and if that continues into the NFL, he could be in trouble. At the NFL level, you can’t “take plays off,” and regardless of how one wants to spin it, not playing to your maximum speed on a given play shows you’re completely fine with taking them off. 

None of this is to say that the Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t draft Harrison, that Harrison is overrated, or that he’s a bad prospect. This is saying that before you draft anyone, even a surefire generational talent, you need to look at their entire body of work, regardless of how well they played in college.