2024 NFL Draft

Here's why some teams favor Malik Nabers over Marvin Harrison Jr., and what it means for the Bears: reports

According to ESPN's Matt Miller, different teams are weighing who would fit better in their offenses

NBC Universal, Inc.

Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. is considered by some as a "generational talent" at the wide receiver position and inarguably the best player in the 2024 NFL Draft.

But some teams prefer LSU's Malik Nabers as the first pass-catcher to come off the draft board, according to ESPN.

"I've actually had people tell me they think Malik Nabers could wind up ahead of Marvin Harrison Jr.," Adam Schefter said on his podcast. "I've actually heard arguments on behalf of all three guys (Harrison Jr., Nabers, Rome Odunze) all being the No. 1 receiver prospect in this class."

For someone considered a "generational talent," how could NFL teams possibly prefer another wide receiver over the rare talent?

"I'm not surprised to hear that," ESPN's Matt Miller responded to Schefter. "I think if the three of us sat down in a room together and watched film on these wide receivers, we would all probably end up with different things we liked about them. That's what's happening now. And especially as you scout for an individual scheme, like the Arizona Cardinals, you're probably going to want something different than a team like the Buffalo Bills might want, or the Los Angeles Chargers might want.

"I think that's where some of the discrepancies come in for your scheme. Malik Nabers with that awesome speed and yards-after-catch ability, might be more attractive to you than this true vertical receiver who's a great route runner in Marvin Harrison Jr. Maybe you look at what San Francisco has done with two bullies playing wide receiver and you would love Rome Odunze because you want that 215-pound guy that's just gonna dominate on 50-50 balls.

"I think some of it comes down to the type of quarterback you have and then the type of offense you run and in trying to decide which of those wide receivers best fits what you want. But those are the three; the order they come off the board, I think, will be one of the most fascinating parts of the first round."

It's a curious conversation. Is there an offense in the NFL that doesn't fit Harrison Jr.? I feel bad for that offense if that's the case. But Miller claims some teams favor what Nabers brings to the table that Harrison Jr. doesn't.

Remember, all reports about X prospect being better than Y, or vice versa, could be an attempt at a smoke screen. Maybe the Chargers, for example, in hopes of creating value for their No. 5 pick, are trying to build Nabers' value so Harrison-hungry teams increase their value in a potential trade package.

The point is, no one truly knows until a team eventually submits their draft card. And even if there are teams who think more highly of Nabers than Harrison Jr., it could be teams who aren't in range of drafting either of them.

But for the Bears, they have a hand in all of this, as they remain in range for potentially one of the top three receivers with their No. 9 pick.

As it stands, it appears three quarterbacks will go as the first three picks to the Bears, Commanders and Patriots. After them, it would make sense for both the Cardinals and Chargers to target a receiver, as both teams are virtually empty at the position.

But what about trades? Are the Cardinals a Harrison Jr. or Nabers away from being a competitive team? Or, should they trade that pick for more, future value so they can better build out the rest of their team?

It's a game of opportunity cost. And it's a game the Bears will have to play with the No. 9 pick in the draft. Should one of those three receivers become available with the No. 9 pick, they have to weigh the cost of pairing one of them with DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, or by taking a likely haul in return in a trade-down scenario.

Or, who knows, if the Bears see overwhelming value in Harrison Jr. or Nabers, would they dare trade up to capture one of them?

Stay tuned, as April 25 promises to hold some real surprises.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us