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Marvin Harrison Jr. Isn't Only Wideout Receiving Draft Buzz

Position figures to provide help for teams well past first round

LSU's Malik Nabers (left) and Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. (right) are two of the best in an excellent wide receiver draft class in 2024.
LSU's Malik Nabers (left) and Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. (right) are two of the best in an excellent wide receiver draft class in 2024.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Cardinals are going to draft a wide receiver. It would be shocking otherwise.

There are no certainties beyond that, however, regardless of what dozens of mock drafts might predict or analysts might say. The name of Marvin Harrison Jr. is going to be at the forefront of every discussion, but at a position this deep in the draft, the Cardinals will have choices.

Both GM Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon have been hesitant to get into scouting reports of players – Ossenfort especially – but Gannon was blunt when asked about the Ohio State star: "Playmaker."

"Anytime he touches it he can score points, and that's the name of the game," Gannon said. "Score one more point than the other team. I need to watch him more, but he's a playmaker."

Harrison was one of the main stories of Friday's Scouting combine not for what he said but what he didn't, when he surprisingly did not appear for his scheduled media availability. Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter tweeted later Harrison was in the middle of medical testing. Harrison is not expected to reschedule.

(Harrison did meet with the Cardinals this week, Gannon confirmed on Arizona Sports on Friday.)

Skipping a public interview won't hurt Harrison's draft status. It's hard to imagine him not going in the top five. Yet in a class that also has LSU's Malik Nabers and Washington's Rome Odunze as expected future stars, options exist.

"If New England goes quarterback, then to me, it's an easy wide receiver pick," draft analyst Lance Zierlein said. "Who's your favorite: Nabers, Rome Odunze, or Marvin Harrison Jr at 4. I do think there is a little more variety of opinions on that than the fanbases understand. It's not automatically Marvin Harrison Jr."

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said "I would take one of the wideouts, personally. I think if you look purely off of grade and not positional value."

"I think you could make a case those three highest graded players in this draft are the three receivers," he added. "I think you need some firepower if you are the Arizona Cardinals you need some guys who can go get and make plays."

There is a chance all three top guys go in the top six or seven selections. Harrison is nearly 6-foot-4 and 209 pounds, where Odunze is 6-3, 215 and Nabers shorter at 6-0, 200. Nabers, however, wowed this season with his ability to play both inside and outside while starring with QB Jayden Daniels.

"A different offense can move me around and still get that 'dawg' mentality," Nabers said, adding "When the ball is in the air, it's mine, and when the ball is in my hands I'm able to do tremendous things with it."

The list of potential good rookie receivers stretches out, however. And with the number of excellent NFL receivers that have been found outside the first round – think guys like Detroit's Amon-Ra St. Brown, Minnesota's Jayden Reed, Kansas City's Rashee Rice, Houston's Nico Collins and the Rams' Puka Nacua – an argument can be made of spending the Cardinals' high picks elsewhere.

"The college game is spitting out receivers left and right," Jeremiah said.

Ossenfort called Harrison a great player and said "we have done a lot of work on Marvin." But he also said there the Cardinals have done a lot of work on many players, and noted the position depth reaches into the mid-rounds.

"That's what it's about, saying you're the best and competing for it," Odunze said. "And I do feel that way. It's a competition. But all these dudes are ballers, and I am super-honored to be a part of the conversation."