Percy Harvin has had a tumultuous, inconsistent start to his NFL career. For various reasons, he's always been a player more fun to think about than watch or talk about. Now, the 26-year-old has his best chance to prove all the skeptics wrong.
Harvin flashed star potential in four seasons with Minnesota. His reception total and yards increased in each of his first three seasons, and he racked up 21 total touchdowns (four via kick return).
|Percy Harvin Stats, 2009-11|
Harvin did have one memorable moment in the Super Bowl with an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown to start the second half. He played in all five of Seattle's games this season but was largely a forgotten man.
The six-year veteran also wasn't making the kinds of plays Seattle expected, as this stat from ESPN Stats & Info points out:
There were also problems behind the scenes with Harvin. Lance Zierlein of Sports Talk 790 in Houston reported that Harvin had anger issues that played into Seattle dumping him:
All of these are problems the Jets will have to fix in order to get the most out of Harvin. Yet, if there is one franchise that needs to get the best possible version of Harvin, it's the New York Jets.
This season has been a disaster on virtually every level for Gang Green. It has lost six straight games, leading to speculation from Steve Serby of The New York Post that head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik are on the hot seat.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, though there is a lot more that Harvin can offer the Jets than possibly saving two men's jobs. New York's passing game has been atrocious this season, ranking 31st in completion percentage, last in passing yards per game and last in yards per attempt.
Geno Smith hasn't taken off at quarterback, though he also hasn't had many weapons to play with. Eric Decker is a nice possession receiver, but there are problems if he's your No. 1 receiver.
Harvin doesn't fit the traditional mold of a potential No. 1 receiver because he doesn't make big plays down the field. He does have the ability to score on short passes, which is how teams have used him throughout his career, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Harvin maintains his reputation as someone who can take the ball to the house on any play, especially on his specialty, the screen pass.
Harvin has 49 receptions on screen passes the past five seasons, third most among all wide receivers, behind Antonio Brown (68) and Pierre Garcon (64). His nine receptions on screen passes ties him for second in the NFL this season.
That will help Smith, who can flick the ball outside to Harvin and let the receiver's speed do the rest of the work. Harvin also remains an asset on special teams, ranking eighth in kickoff return yardage and 11th in average yards per return.
Harvin is also walking into a situation for the first time in his career in which he is without question the most talented offensive player. Minnesota had Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre and Sidney Rice. Seattle had Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch.
Those teams didn't need to give Harvin the ball to have success. The Jets must get Harvin involved in the offense if they want to score points and start winning games. All a player can ask for is to be a critical part of the game plan.
At 26 years old, Harvin is still young enough to correct whatever issues he might have off the field. He's still insanely talented and worth taking a chance on, which is why the Jets were willing to make this deal. Now, he's in a spot with a team that has every reason to maximize all the things that make him special.
If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter.