Harvey Coveted by NFL
By Heath Cline
This weekend the NFL will harvest their latest crop of college football talent for the upcoming season. Florida won't have a lot of players selected this weekend, but the draft is going to be very good to defensive end Derrick Harvey.
He's assured of going in the first round, but the word on his status keeps getting better. With teams craving a pure pass rusher like Harvey, there may be a bidding war to move up and get him. Only likely top five picks Vernon Gholston and Chris Long are expected to go before Harvey, and there's a lot of teams that need defensive line help. Here are the most likely landing spots for the fourth year junior Saturday afternoon.
CAROLINA - The consensus among most NFL observers is that Harvey will not get past the 13th pick held by Carolina should he still be there. The Panthers need pass rush help after last season's disappointing performance by Julius Peppers. Head coach John Fox came to UF's pro day personally to scout Harvey, one of the reasons many believe he is their top target. While Carolina has other needs to address including quarterback and running back, should Harvey be there, it's hard to imagine them passing on him.
DETROIT - The Lions pick two back of Carolina. Multiple reports indicate they are very impressed with Harvey but are unlikely to trade ahead of Carolina to get him. Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli was defensive line coach for a decade with Tampa Bay and has worked with top defensive end talent like Simeon Rice. If Harvey should slip to Detroit at 15 and Marinelli gets a say in the pick, the Motor City franchise drafts its first Gator since Lomas Brown was their first rounder back in 1985.
MINNESOTA - Minnesota continues to work on completing a trade with Kansas City for Jared Allen, who had 15.5 sacks last season. If they're not able to deal the 17th pick and a third rounder to the Chiefs for his services, they have considerable interest in Harvey. Would someone higher than Carolina at pick 13 do a deal for the 17th spot and a third rounder? If so, the Vikings might make that move.
NEW ENGLAND - The Patriots have the seventh pick, which is too high to draft Harvey according to most projections. Despite that, they are reported to be have interest in Harvey as a possible combination pass rush end and linebacker. It's believed they will look to trade out of their pick, with most thinking a team looking to draft quarterback Matt Ryan prior to Baltimore doing so at pick eight would be interested in making a deal. Depending on how far New England drops down, they could be a possibility for Harvey after all.
JACKSONVILLE - The Jaguars are looking for pass rushing help, and head coach Jack Del Rio came to personally watch Harvey's Florida pro day workout. He won't be there at 26 when Jacksonville is scheduled to pick, but they don't need a lot of young players this season so a trade of the first rounder plus other picks to move up and get their guy is not out of the question. Standing pat, they'd likely end up with USC's Lawrence Jackson as their best option on the board.
Other than Harvey, only Andre Caldwell is expected to definitely be drafted this weekend. He'll likely go sometime in round two or three. Others might have a chance at a late selection or free agent status.
The Heath Cline Show airs daily from 11-1 on Gainesville's Star 99.5 FM
More on Harvey:
Patriots Interest: Patriots Take a Look at Top Defender
Tom Marino Scouting Report: Harvey is a smooth, athletic player with excellent speed, who possesses get-off quickness and impressive edge rush skills. I like his stride length, hand quickness, counter moves and ability to close. He has effectively worked down inside and get to the ball. He is able to run down players as well as drop his base and stack. Harvey is seldom on the ground and on the rare occasion that he was, he bounced up quickly and got back into the play. I didn't see much I didn't like or can't be improved. This guy is the real deal. Slam dunk # 1
Todd McShay Scouting report: ESPN
FOX Highlight Video
Draft Preview: Derrick Harvey