Why the Slide?: Kelvin Harmon

Why the Slide?: Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Five years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

During the 2018 college football season and in the early months of 2019, there were some draft analysts who were projecting Kelvin Harmon to be a first-round pick. Harmon had a senior productive year as the No.1 receiver for Ryan Finley. The big receiver totaled 81 receptions for 1,186 yards and seven touchdowns on the season as a steady producer for the Wolfpack. That was coming after a junior year in which he snatched 69 receptions for 1,017 yards with four touchdowns. After those two productive seasons and with his NFL size, it was surprising to some that Harmon slid to the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The big issue that really hurt Harmon throughout the draft process was a concern around that league that he was too slow for the next level. Sources from numerous teams said they had concerns that Harmon would not be able to separate from NFL cornerbacks. The speed worries were validated with a slow 40 time at the combine. On top of the speed issue, some sources said they felt Harmon was stiff and will struggle to separate off press-man coverage. They felt that he is a good receiver, but not a top-three-type receiver for an NFL roster and had limited special teams value. Hence, he slid deep into the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Washington Redskins drafted Harmon in the sixth round, and that was a great landing spot for him. Washington’s coaching staff and organization will give a fair shot to a late-round pick or undrafted free agent. On top of that, the Redskins have a big need at the receiver position. They lack play-makers and effective starters. Josh Doctson was a first-round pick of the former general manager and has been a big disappointment. Paul Richardson has not lit it up since signing in free agency, and otherwise the Redskins have some depth veterans who the team would have no issue cutting. If Harmon plays well in the preseason, he definitely could make Washington’s 53-man roster as a backup wideout. If not the roster, he could be on the practice squad. If Harmon can make the most out of his opportunities when they come, he could be a late-round steal for the Redskins.

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