I know right now probably isn’t the best time to talk about the draft. Maybe 10 weeks ago when the Colts were in the thick of the Nick Bosa sweepstakes but not when they are set on the playoffs, right? Well, every season is draft-season and it’s never too early to peer into the crystal ball.
Due to fantastic overperformance from both the offensive and defensive lines, those positions don’t seem to be too pressing of needs. An alpha pass rusher would be nice but the Colts won’t have enough line to catch any of the big fish at the top of the draft. If the Colts can’t snag a player like Bosa, Ed Oliver, or Josh Allen, they may want to look in another direction.
Outside of T.Y Hilton, the Colts’ receiving corps has been the weakest part of the roster. Neither Deon Cain nor and Daurice Fountain has seen an NFL field and the Colts haven’t been able to find a suitable number two across from T.Y. Hilton. Enter NC State junior wideout Kelvin Harmon, who could be the perfect first-round wide receiver prospect for the Colts to compliment Hilton
The Wolfpack offense consisted of mostly spread/pistol looks with a zone run scheme. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, Harmon almost exclusively lined up as the far “X” receiver, meaning he is split out wide on the line of scrimmage. NC State primarily used Harmon as a vertical threat, having him work the sidelines and deep areas of the field. Harmon most commonly ran go routes, in routes, out routes, and hitch routes. He didn’t work over the middle much, wasn’t a huge factor in the short game and never lined up in the slot.
Enough rambling, let’s get into the film.
Standing at 6’3″, 215 pounds, Kelvin Harmon is a true X receiver. He is an alpha and an absolute menace at the point of attack. The aspect of Harmon’s game that stands out the most is his play strength. Every aspect of his game is done with strength. His hands are rock solid, he runs strong routes, and he is unstoppable at the point of attack. Operating in a tight window, Harmon secures the ball with his hands and fights through three defenders for extra yards:
Harmon possesses fantastic hand strength, using jabs and punches to beat jams and create separation on vertical routes. Here, Harmon uses his iron mitts to gain effortless separation from the corner on the curl route:
Working in between zones of this cover 2 defense, Harmon knows he is going to take a shot when he receives the pass. Running into the gap in the zone, Harmon leaps for the pass and braces for contact, staying strong and bringing down the completion.
Since this is a Colts film room, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about drops in the context of this receiver. In seven games I charted, Harmon had three drops. Curiously, all three of these drops came against Wake Forest in 2017. Given Harmon’s obscene target share, it is safe to say that Harmon’s hands are indeed sticky.
The Boston College corner here is squeezing Harmon hard into the boundary, limiting his operating space. Harmon beautifully tracks this ball and contorts his body to the throw mid-air:
Harmon uses his body exceptionally well to track the football in air and adjust to hit. He exhibits good foot placement on the sideline on back shoulder throws, displaying his good chemistry with Ryan Finley:
Harmon projects to be a threat in the red zone, winning with his frame, strength, body control, and hands:
If there is one knock you can make on Harmon’s game, he doesn’t have a great burst in short areas. Granted, he doesn’t have a huge sample running routes that require sharp cuts, but his cuts can be a tad round. Harmon also is far from a burner:
But, he has enough functional speed to be effective as a vertical threat:
While Harmon doesn’t have supreme deep speed or short-area explosiveness, he is technically solid and often wins on his routes with technique and using his body. He is a force on vertical timing routes, using the threat of his deep speed to open up timing throws:
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Because Harmon’s hands are so strong, defenders look to hit him hard to force a drop. Knowing this, Harmon often counters with a lethal double move. He knows how to execute a hard fake inside, sinking his hips before exploding into a deep route:
Harmon might struggle to create sufficient separation against great defensive backs because of his athletic limitations but he should not be a liability in that area, a la Kelvin Benjamin.
If there’s one thing Chris Ballard loves, it is a receiver who blocks. Harmon is a menace of a blocker out on the edge. Fighting hard, he takes pride in being a great blocker, using strength, technique, and leverage to create lanes for his running backs:
In Frank Reich’s offense, receivers have to be able to block on screens and Harmon can certainly do so.
Lacking an alpha X-type receiver, Kelvin Harmon is a perfect for the Colts. Harmon could be a guy who makes big plays on the boundary, moves the chains, and helps blocking in the run game. The Colts, running Frank Reich’s creative offense, should be able to get so much more out of Harmon than NC State did. Moving him all over the field will open up Harmon’s game and open up the rest of the offense.
Although I am not comparing Harmon to this player, I could see the Colts, or any team, using Harmon in the Michael Thomas role. Harmon and Thomas have near identical frames and Harmon should test similarly to Thomas, though I expect him to run faster than a 4.57. The Saints know Thomas is not a fast guy and isn’t super quick.
Thomas dominates over the middle of the field using toughness, strength, and technique. Harmon isn’t as technically gifted as Thomas but he has similar play strength, hands, and physicality. And unlike Thomas, Harmon isn’t a YAC monster. He might even be more fluid moving in space than Thomas. It is easy to imagine Harmon shredding defenses on deep over routes week in and week out.
Considering I have only studied one player, I don’t have enough information to put a conclusive grade or ranking on Harmon. From what I do know, though, I would probably give Harmon a mid-late first round grade. He has all the makings of a true number one receiver with play strength, fluid movement, and physicality. If the Colts end up with a pick around 20, Kelvin Harmon would not be bad choice.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.