From now until the 2019 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#1 N’Keal Harry/WR Arizona State – 6’4” 216
- Prototypical size you want in a receiver
- Lines up outside and in the slot
- High points the ball well on 50/50 balls
- Makes contested catches
- Good sideline awareness to get his feet down in bounds
- Excellent body control adjusting to the ball
- Red Zone threat
- Experience as a punt returner
- Body catches often on short area passes
- Doesn’t create a lot of separation
- Very little production in the intermediate level and middle of the field on the deep level
- Lacks shiftiness to make people miss
- Takes time to get up to speed and is a one speed runner
- Hand usage to keep DB’s off his body
- Limited route tree in games watched
- Career – 213 Receptions, 2,889 Yards, 13.6 YPR, 22 TD; 23 carries, 144 yards, 6.3 YPC 3 TD; 14 Punt Returns, 165 yards, 1 TD, 11.8 YPR
- 2018 – 73 Receptions, 1,088 Yards, 14.9 YPR, 9 TD; 7 Carries for 10 yards, 1.4 YPC, 1 TD; 9 Punt Returns, 152 Yards, 1 TD, 16.9 YPR
- Pac-12 All-Conference team at wide receiver twice 2017,2018 and return specialist (2nd Team 2018)
- Leaves ASU 3rd in program history in career receptions (213) and career receiving yards (2,889)
- In High school, averaged more than 21 points and 10 rebounds a game during his basketball career on Varsity
The Antonio Brown saga could carry into spring so the Steelers will have to do their homework on the receivers in this draft as those would be big shoes to fill. This draft seems to be pretty deep at the WR position. The Steelers have, in recent history, done an excellent job of developing WR’s and will hope that continues under second year WR coach Darryl Drake.
If you were going to build a receiver, he’s probably look like N’Keal Harry. He has the ideal height and weight you’d look for to play on the outside and has a lot of experience playing in the slot. Arizona State was creative with the junior wide receiver also lining him up in the backfield flanking the QB and also taking direct snaps.
He has solid acceleration off the line of scrimmage to eat up space vs off coverage and has very good short area quickness. He likes to use a hesitation with head/shoulder fakes vs press coverage. His first couple of steps out of his break are quick and he gets his head around quickly. He shows good awareness vs Zone coverage to find the soft spot in the coverage and give the QB a good target.
In the short area he was used often on slants, screens and hitch routes able to get up field quickly after the catch and was difficult to bring down. He uses his body to make the catch often in this area. You’d prefer WR’s to use their hands more but whether he’s making the catch is most important.
Vs Michigan State split wide left. This is a pretty release. He presses to the outside to get the DB to turn his hips. A swat of the arm to open a clear path inside on the slant and you see the difficulty bringing him down.
He’s proficient making catches on deep balls along the sideline showing excellent body control to adjust to the ball. He can get up and high point the ball or make contested catches over the DB’s and has very good sideline awareness to get his feet inbounds.
Vs Michigan State, lined up outside to the left. A deep sideline route he uses his hands to maintain space vs the defender and leaps over the defender to make the contested catch and twist into the end zone.
Vs USC, from the right slot. It’s a go pattern where he uses a little head fake inside and a swat at the arm to beat the DB for a TD.
Vs USC, from the outside at the top of the screen. A go route, you can see he doesn’t have much separation. He makes a wonderful, one handed grab again with great body control.
After the catch he can cover a lot of ground when he has space. He doesn’t have the lateral agility and quickness to make defenders miss consistently nor does he look fluid trying to make multiple cuts. He’s a straight line runner with good speed and has the ability to score from anywhere on the field with 7 of his 9 receiving touchdowns in 2018 came from outside the red zone.
Vs Utah split wide left. He absorbs the hit from the DB reverses field to get a big gain. There isn’t much wiggle to his running style but once he gets going he can cover some ground.
With his size and body control he will be an excellent red zone option on quick plays like below or going over the top of the defenders.
Vs Utah, one on one wide left in the red zone. A hesitation, flash the eyes to the outside, and it’s an easy TD on a slant.
He’s a willing blocker and can handle most DB’s with his size and length. He’ll drop his head at contact and needs to sustain to the whistle. He has experience as a punt returner as well. They would put him back there in critical situations when they were looking for a big play and occasionally it worked.
Vs USC, 3rd quarter, down 4. He catches the ball at the 8 runs completely across the field before turning up for a 92 yard return.
I was surprised by his lack of production on the intermediate level and deep middle of the field. Other than a couple of dig routes he didn’t really show up in that area. Didn’t see any out routes, post patterns or comeback routes either. This could be system design or the games I watched but I didn’t see it under the 2017 or 2018 coaching staff.
I’d like to see him continue his speed out of his break. After the first couple steps he slows down. His best way of gaining separation is being physical at the top of his route and continuing his speed out of his break would improve his ability to separate. It’s just going to get harder to get away from DB’s at the next level.
Against Utah, lined up slot left. Good example of him being physical at the top of the stem, pushing off on the DB.
Wide receiver depth is something that can be improved upon as there was little production there after Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. As a Steeler he could be used as a possession WR who you can use in the red zone and to take deep shots to allow him to use his size, body control and ability to win on 50/50 balls. He has potential to be a good NFL receiver but I don’t see a first round guy like some others do unless he improves his separation and adds to his route tree.
Projection: Day 2, 2nd or 3rd round
Games Watched: 2017 – Vs Washington, At UCLA; 2018 – Vs Michigan State, At Washington, At USC, Vs Utah