Who's Pursuing Percy?

Sometime during the first two rounds of the NFL Draft this Saturday, Percy Harvin will find out which team will make him a very wealthy man. That's about the only thing Gator fans know for sure. Which franchise will be cutting checks to him and how much they'll be for is still very much up in the air right now.

Percy Harvin entered the draft process with several football related issues he was going to have to overcome. While he was a huge playmaker for Florida, the way he was used limited the amount of time Harvin sent running NFL style routes. Scouts raised durability questions - Harvin never played a full season during any of his three years in Gainesville. While it's certainly not Harvin's fault, it may also be held against him that a number of highly drafted Gator receivers have failed to live up to expectations over the past 15 years.

Despite those potential knocks on his resume, it appeared Harvin's NFL stock was on the upswing thanks to outstanding workout numbers. Some mock drafts had him projected to go as high as the middle of the first round. Since then, his public image has taken a pummeling and made evaluating possible landing spots very difficult. No team spent a first rounder on a receiver last year, but Michael Crabtree will make sure it happens this time around. Harvin has the talent to be an early selection, but whether that happens is anybody's guess.

Harvin's first PR hit came when his Wonderlic score at the NFL Combine was revealed to have been a 12. Harvin actually answered 42 of the 50 questions in the timed test, which is supposed to demonstrate learning and problem solving ability. That wasn't devastating, but did prompt some to question whether Harvin would need longer to develop since he's spent less time running classic NFL pass patterns than most highly regarded receiver prospects.

The second blow to Harvin's image was much more serious. An internet report three weeks ago claimed a variety of players, Harvin among them, had tested positive for assorted drugs at the combine. While that initial story proved to not be fully accurate, additional reports this week by more credible sources including FoxSports.com have also indicated Harvin tested positive for marijuana. That would mean Harvin enters the league with a strike already registered against him in their drug policy and raises enormous questions about his judgment.

With Harvin now identified as a risky pick, some teams have reportedly taken him completely off their draft boards. Two teams who are alleged to have done so are Minnesota and Dallas. If the management of the Cowboys, the franchise that brought Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson back to the league, feel Harvin's too hot to handle then who knows what more conservative organizations are thinking? Harvin had been scheduled to go work out for the New York Giants, but that trip was canceled. Does that mean he's out of their plans as well?

Someone will unquestionably take Harvin, quite possibly with one of the first picks of the second round. The difference in money between the final first round pick and players taken just a few spots later is enormous. Teams are much more willing to take a chance with a second round pick, too.

Who are some teams that might either select Harvin late in round one or look to trade into an early second rounder and grab him at a cut rate? One to keep an eye on appears to be Tennessee, who has pick 30. The Titans have taken players perceived as draft day "problems" before. Coming out of USC, tailback Lendale White's draft stock took a worse beating than Harvin's has before Tennessee snapped him up midway through the second round. He's turned into a productive player for them. On the other hand, selecting Pacman Jones with the sixth pick in the draft blew up in their face. The Titans do have a clear need for a wide receiver, but might feel they can still get one in the second round.

Another team that's been discussing Harvin is the New York Jets. They have a receiving corps led by Jerricho Cotchery, and could use lots of help from a game-breaker at the position. The 17th pick is probably too high for Harvin, so a trade down could be in order. Baltimore at pick 26 could be a landing spot for Harvin as well. GM Ozzie Newsome is strong enough to deal with some fan questions should he take a player with a checkered background.


Fightin Gators Top Stories