Not No. 1? Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. Falls In Latest NFL Mock Draft

Ohio State Buckeyes receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. comes off the board in the first round, but well lower than most believe he'll land.
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

It's been widely speculated that Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. will be the first non-quarterback selected in April's draft. If not that, the two-time All-American should be the first pass-catcher taken within the first five selections.

But what if neither happens come April 25? In one mock, that's just the case.

According to ESPN analyst and former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum, Harrison lands No. 9 overall to the Chicago Bears, serving as the new No. 1 target for USC star Caleb Williams. He joins the Windy City franchise as the second first-round pick and the second receiver added this offseason following the addition of Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowler Keenan Allen.

"Chicago just traded for Keenan Allen and has a really solid set of playmakers, but how can you pass up Harrison at No. 9? He reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald," Tannenbaum said. "He's excellent in contested catch situations, has great hands, and gets in and out of his breaks smoothly despite being 6-3 and 209 pounds. He just had his second straight season with 14 TDs and over 1,200 receiving yards (1,211). What better way to put Caleb Williams in a position to be successful than loading up his supporting cast?"

While the fit works, a talent like Harrison barely cracking the top 10 seems far-fetched. What's even crazier? LSU's Malik Nabers is the first receiver off the board at pick No. 6 to the New York Giants.

Tannebaum believes that while Harrison has the production to be one of the league's top weapons for years to come, Nabers has more speed and would be a plug-and-play fit in Brian Dabboll's offense.

Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18)
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

"You might be screaming for Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. here, but this WR1 race is really close, and I'm actually giving Nabers the edge because of his speed," Tannenbaum said. "Nabers averaged 15.9 yards per reception for his career and scored 14 TDs last season. He's the most dynamic prospect in the class, as a route runner and as an after-the-catch playmaker. The Giants' offense desperately needs that sort of impact player."

Tannenbaum isn't alone in the hunt for WR1 conversations. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has heard teams have been high on Nabers as the No. 1 option since the early stages of the combine back in early March.

"I was having a conversation with one general manager who picks in the 20s, and he was like, and he’s not gonna lie to me. He’s not in a position to get any of these three guys," Jeremiah said on The Joel Klatt Show. "So, he’s like, ‘We have Nabers as the top wideout in our room, right now as we’re going through it.'

"And he said, ‘Look, we love Marvin and we love, but Nabers has a club in his bag that they don’t have. Just in terms of the juice, the speed, tackle-breaking, make you miss, all that stuff. Majority after the catch.’ And we haven’t seen him run yet and I guess we aren’t gonna see him run. ' "

Jeremiah still has Harrison as the top target in the class, though as the draft inches closer, there could be a change of heart.

"I’m gonna go back to watch all their ’22 stuff of when I really, really fell in love with these guys and I came out of there emboldened to say I strongly believe Caleb is the best quarterback in this class and I strongly believe Marvin Harrison Jr. would be my number one receiver," said Jeremiah.

Harrison, who finished with 1,211 receiving yards and 14 TDs, is expected to land somewhere within the top-five picks barring teams trading up for a quarterback. Nabers and Odunze likely fall somewhere in the top 10, with the floor perhaps being the New York Jets at No. 10.

Cole Thompson