The only way Marvin Harrison Jr. NFL combine risk comes back to haunt him

Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. is expected to be the first wide receiver selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, a standout performance from a competitor could cause him to fall a few draft spots.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ohio State v Georgia
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ohio State v Georgia / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

When describing Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.'s preparation for the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said that Harrison Jr. will "do it differently."

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer detailed Harrison Jr.'s pre-draft preparation, which includes staying on Ohio State's Columbus campus and working with Buckeye strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti.

Harrison Jr.'s reasoning for skipping the pre-draft showcase is simple enough: as the best wide receiver in the draft, there's essentially nothing for him to prove. The son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Harrison Jr. has both the legacy and the resume to make his case better than any NFL Scouting Combine drill ever could. By focusing on remaining in peak condition for the grueling football season ahead, Harrison Jr.'s actions communicate dedication to what truly matters, rather than attempting to impress the media in the dog-and-pony show that the pre-draft process has become. While other receivers need impressive performances at the Combine or their pro day to raise their stock, the Biletnikoff Award-winner is already among the highest-ranked prospects.

Malik Nabers could upend Marvin Harrison Jr.'s draft dominance

The preparation process for the NFL Draft has become formulaic over the years, but Harrison Jr.'s decisions starkly contrast the norm. Whereas most top draft prospects hire agents, practice NFL Combine drills, and hope for a Pro Day showcase, Harrison Jr. is choosing to forgo these common pre-draft rituals. Instead, he is preparing himself by practicing what he'll be doing in the NFL this fall: playing football.

That being said, Harrison Jr.'s absence does leave room for competing wide receivers to impress scouts in person and potentially jump ahead a few draft spots. LSU's Malik Nabers is one of them.

Nabers, in contention to be the top WR taken in the NFL Draft, will be at the NFL Scouting Combine for interviews, but won't run or test until his Pro Day on March 27, according to Ian Rapaport.

If Nabers can stun onlookers at LSU's Pro Day, it could potentially influence Harrison Jr.'s draft stock. After all, just take a look back at what one throw did for Zach Wilson's draft stock in 2021. Also, while Nabers isn't participating in Combine drills, impressing coaches and general managers during interviews can go a long way. Perhaps Nabers can convince a team that is on the fence that he is the best wide receiver option in this draft class.

Like Harrison Jr., Nabers is projected to be among the top picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. ESPN NFL insider Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock draft has Nabers projected to be selected by the Tennessee Titans with the No. 7 overall pick.

In ESPN NFL insider Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft, he projected Nabers to be selected by the Tennessee Titans with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze is also in the running for the top prospect.

In the end, all of the speculation likely won't matter. Harrison Jr. has been the most highly regarded receiver in a long time. The Ohio State product will likely still see his name called first, and Nabers will follow close behind. The two will hope to live up to the duo of A.J. Green and Julio Jones, who were compared to each other heading into the 2011 NFL Draft.

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