With seven picks in the upcoming NFL draft and plenty of positions to address, the Washington Redskins will head into April with the idea of "value" in mind. Without a pick in the top 50, this year's process will be a good test for the team's front office, and it certainly won't be easy.
Although it's impossible to predict the strategy that head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen will use going into the draft, there are plenty of college prospects who should at least be on their radar.
The Washington Redskins 2013 NFL Draft Radar is a series of articles to help you get familiar with prospects that would fit in Washington. Check back often for new scouting reports and info.
Name: Chris Harper
School: Kansas State
Weight: 229 lbs
Coming out of Northwest High School in Kansas, Chris Harper was a PrepStar All-American and four-star recruit according to Rivals. In addition to leading his team as an option quarterback, Harper also helped lead Northwest to the Class 6A State basketball championships as a sophomore.
Harper joined Chip Kelly and Oregon in 2008 as a true freshman and converted from quarterback to wide receiver after the first five games. In limited action, Harper finished the season as the Ducks’ fifth-leading rusher and receiver. He also replaced injured quarterback Justin Roper in overtime at Purdue and strung together the winning scoring drive.
In an effort to be closer to home, Harper transferred to Kansas State as a sophomore and redshirted the 2009 season.
In 2010, Harper played in all 13 games for the Wildcats, starting seven, and totaled 25 catches for 330 yards and four touchdowns. He would lead the team the following season in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, hauling in 40 catches for 547 yards and five scores.
As a senior this past season, Harper had his best year on the field, bringing in 58 catches for 857 yards and three scores.
Harper is a sizable wide receiver with a thick build and full frame that he uses in every aspect of his game. He has the ability to be physical at the line, through his routes, while making the catch and when running with the ball in his hands. At this point, he is also experienced in using his size to his advantage, wisely boxing-out and taking the inside on deep routes.
Albeit a bit heavy between 225 and 234 pounds, arguably the best part about Harper’s size is his control. His coordination and ability to adjust his body make him a better athlete than some may give him credit for.
Harper isn’t one of the burners in this class, but that’s not to say he can’t be a vertical threat. Harper is a regular mismatch on the outside. And while his straight-line speed may not be top tier, it’s still enough to streak, use the sidelines and make his defender fight for a ball in the air.
Again attributing to his athleticism, Harper has good leaping ability that can cause fits for the majority of cornerbacks shorter than him. And when he comes down with the ball, Harper possesses deceiving elusiveness in the open field. His strength and size doesn’t make him an easy tackle at initial contact and he’s a hard runner after the catch.
Given he was a converted quarterback at one point in his collegiate career, Harper’s hands are impressive. Like his physique, his hands are strong and he uses them to snatch the ball out of the air. He has good concentration seeing the pass and he helps himself with understanding the defender’s angle.
Although Harper will need to continue to improve his route running, he has the ability to be effective throughout the tree. Right now he can come in and make his money on out-routes and slants, but teams will inch their way in his development. He’s a natural redzone target given his bulk, vertical and aggressiveness in jump-ball situations.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was a Heisman Trophy finalist, but it wasn’t for being a great passer. It’s interesting—and intriguing—to think of the difference in Harper’s production with a better passer getting him the ball. Especially in the redzone.
Although the Redskins' situation at wide receiver made huge strides last season after landing Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan in free agency, the position isn't quite finished.
Leonard Hankerson had plenty of fans in his corner last season and he failed to deliver. Despite a productive 2012, Santana Moss is aging and set to count more than $6.1 million against the cap next season. Aldrick Robinson showed flashes, but are coaches prepared to label him consistent?
Chris Harper is an attractive receiver in one of the draft’s deeper positions. He’s a guy that should show well at the combine and scouts may see him as an Anquan Boldin type.
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