Seattle Seahawks Training Camp: Can rookie receiver Chris Harper make the team?
As training camp approaches, the Seattle Seahawks will have a number of interesting position battles. Many of the starting positions are already decided, but winning is about depth. To grind through a long NFL season, a successful team needs 2-3 players at certain positions that can make an impact. One of those position battles will occur at wide receiver, as the Seahawks audition a number of players that may catch balls from Russell Wilson this season.
At the moment, the Seahawks have 13 wide receivers on their roster. Needless to say, the ‘Hawks will not be carrying even close to that many wideouts in 2013. Chris Harper is one of those receivers, and he was taken in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft. Does the former Kansas State wideout have a chance of making the squad?
Harper’s stats in college looked like this:
2012: 58 catches, 857 yards, 14.8 YPC, three TDs
2011: 40 catches, 547 yards, 13.7 YPC, five TDs
2010: 25 catches, 330 yards, 13.2 YPC, four TDs
What does Harper have going for him? Namely, his physical tools. Harper is a big, strong and surprisingly fast receiver. He has the ability to stretch defenses and be the type of target that can go up for a jump ball. At 6-foot-1, Harper would not be the tallest receiver on the team (Sidney Rice is 6-foot-4) but he would be the biggest (currently listed at 234 pounds).
Before his decline in production, Mike Williams filled this type of role with the Seahawks. It seems reasonable to assume that Pete Carroll would like to have another big target for his young quarterback.
Barring injury, Percy Harvin, Rice and Golden Tate are obviously on the list of wideouts. What about Doug Baldwin? Baldwin had a down year in 2012 (29 catches) compared to 2011 (51 catches) but he should also be in the mix. After that, it is arguably an open battle.
There are others that could compete for a spot. Jermaine Kearse is one. Another is 6-foot-5 receiver Stephen Williams, who also represents the type of tall receiver that Carroll likes.
If Harper can survive training camp and be productive, he has a solid shot of making this team. Harper will be tested by perhaps the best secondary in the league. If Harper can hold his own against the likes of Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, that will make a strong statement.
Harper has a good chance. He will need a solid camp because he is not guaranteed a job. Let the games begin.