2012 NFL Draft Prospect Chandler Harnish's 5 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses

Vincent Frank@VincentFrankNFLCorrespondent IApril 25, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Prospect Chandler Harnish's 5 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses

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    Who are the top quarterback prospects after Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL draft? Go ahead and guess who they are, the rest of the class seems to be a little bit watered down.

    Of course there is talent in the mid rounds here, and teams are going to be able to find a steal or two. However, not many mid-tier prospects stand out to me.

    Chandler Harnish from Northern Illinois is the 12th-ranked quarterback on my big board, but does provide some intriguing upside and tools that could translate well to the National Football League.

    This article is going to focus on five strengths and weaknesses as they relate to Harnish and his ability to translate to the NFL.

Strength: Tremendous Athleticism

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    Chandler Harnish is dual-threat quarterback if I have ever seen one. He ran a great deal at Northern Illinois, usually picking up large chunks of yardage.

    Despite running just a 4.76 40-yard dash at the combine in Indianapolis, Harnish seems to play much faster on the football field. This is one reason why track speed might not translate to the field on Sundays. Just something to keep in mind.

    He might not be Tim Tebow or Cam Newton at the next level, but Harnish does have the ability to breakaway if the pocket collapses and can make something out of nothing.

    The Northern Illinois product is also solid outside of the pocket, consistently making good decisions and making defenders miss.

Weakness: Lacks the Necessary Arm Strength

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    Harnish just cannot zip the ball into a tight window. The embedded video will show some stellar play from the talented prospect. However, you need to look further into the video to fully understand that his arm strength is lacking a great deal.

    This is one of the primary reasons that he is considered a mid-round pick at best right now. If you are unable to open up the offense by making plays downfield, you are severely limited in terms of making the offense click and succeeding in the NFL.

Strength: Reads the Field Well

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    One thing that Harnish is not going to struggle with is reading the field and making the right decisions at the right times.

    He consistently checks off if his first read isn't there and is able to progress to secondary reads a large majority of the time. What makes this aspect of his game so much better is the fact that, as I mentioned before, Harnish is able to escape pressure in the pocket.

    Couple these two things together, and you have a quarterback that can create plays on his own and dramatically affect the success of an offense.

Weakness: Learning Curve Is Going to Be Extensive

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    Northern Illinois didn't run anywhere near a pro-style offense with Harnish at the helm. This leads many, including myself, to believe that he is going to struggle early and often transitioning to the NFL.

    Harnish is also going to need to fix his technique dropping back. I noticed him throwing off his back foot a great deal of the time. He also seems to have a low center of gravity in terms of his throwing motion. This will cause his passes to be batted down consistently at the next level.

Strength: Great Decision Making

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    Harnish threw a total of 26 interceptions in over 1,100 passing attempts at Illinois. Basis mathematics tells us that he threw one pick per 32.7 pass attempts. This ranks him among the best in the draft in this category.

    The reason that Harnish threw so few interceptions in college is because he refrains from throwing into double coverage, will not risk tight windows and is able to progress in his reads relatively quickly.

    I am pretty sure that some team looking for a project quarterback later in the 2012 NFL draft will take this into account when deciding who to select.