2024 NFL Draft

Why Marvin Harrison Jr. is unlikely to land with Bears in 2024 NFL draft

The NFL rumor du jour gives the Bears a chance to draft one of the most talented players in the class, regardless of position

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As the 2024 NFL draft draws nearer, the rumor mill spins faster, and wild ideas gain traction. It happens every year with a variety of teams and a variety of players.

The rumor du jour now is that the Bears have a chance to land Marvin Harrison Jr. with the No. 9 pick. Unfortunately for fans hoping the team can pair Caleb Williams with the uber-talented wideout from Ohio State, it’s unlikely to happen.

Harrison Jr. entered the 2023 season as the presumptive WR1 in this year’s class, with some draft experts calling him the most talented player overall. He didn’t disappoint over the course of the year.

Harrison Jr. can do it all and beats defenses in a variety of ways. He’s great off the line, he’s a wonderful route runner and boasts phenomenal hands when catching the ball.

What makes Harrison Jr.’s playmaking even more impressive is how he moves despite being a big dude. He’s listed at 6’3”, 209 lbs., which would make him the tallest target on the Bears and just two pounds shy of Keenan Allen. Yet he moves like some of the smaller receivers in the draft. Experts say Harrison Jr. can run every route on the tree and his technique is advanced compared to most prospects.

Over the past two seasons, Harrison Jr. caught 144 passes for 2,474 yards and 28 touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award in 2023, which recognizes the best wide receiver in the nation and finished fourth in Heisman voting. Beyond the raw talent, technique and production, Harrison Jr. has also been lauded for his top-notch work ethic and supreme competitive drive.

However, as the pre-draft process has dragged on, reports have emerged that some teams view Nabers or Odunze as the WR1 over Harrison Jr. Not entirely surprising given Nabers’ incredible explosive ability or Odunze’s impeccable work as a massive deep threat. Some teams might value those traits more than the overall product Harrison Jr. brings to the field.

Whether or not Harrison Jr. is the first wide receiver off the board or not, it would be stunning if he was still available by the time the Bears’ No. 9 pick rolls around. One way that happens is a bigger run on both QBs and offensive tackles than most expect. The other way is if something unexpected occurred to scare NFL teams away. There’s no reason to believe anything like that will happen, so I’m reluctant to even mention it, other than to squash fringe thinking on the topic. Most likely, someone will seize the opportunity to add an incredibly talented player at an extremely premium position.

If the Bears want Harrison Jr., they’ll probably have to move up to get him. And if they want to do that, they’ll have to hope there’s not much competition. As things stand, the Bears’ next pick after No. 9 is No. 75. The Bears do have an extra second-round pick next year thanks to the trade they made in 2023 to send the No. 1 pick to Carolina, but there are many other teams who can cough up more this year to outbid the Bears.

The Bears still have a chance to add one of the “big three” receivers this season. For argument's sake, let’s say three quarterbacks are selected to kick things off and from there two wide receivers, one offensive tackle and one pass rusher are picked. That leaves a fourth QB, a second OT or a second pass rusher to go with the eighth pick just in front of the Bears. Any of those options are just as reasonable to imagine as a third wide receiver. But imagining that Harrison Jr. is the man left on the board is a bit more of a stretch.

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