The New York Giants liked cornerback Madre Harper enough last year to offer him a signing bonus to leave the Raiders practice squad.
Harper, an undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois, started 15 games his junior and senior season as a transfer from Oklahoma State after being suspended and dismissed from the program in 2017 for a violation of team rules.
At 6'1" and 190 pounds, he had two interceptions and 12 pass breakups as a senior in 2019 and was an honorable mention all-conference.
The Giants, intrigued by Harper's skillset, activated him off injured reserve (where he had landed on December 11 with a knee injury) in the final week of the 2020 season (he wasn't active for that Week 17 game against the Cowboys, though).
They also signed him to a one-year extension after apparently liking what they saw from him in the small sample size he gave them, which in nine games, mainly came on special teams.
Harper finished his first season with the Giants, having recorded two defensive tackles, and three tackles, and one fumble recovery on special teams.
What He Brings
Harper boasts elite NFL range and athleticism, having run a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and posting a 40-inch vertical leap at his pro day. But questions about off-field issues and inconsistent technique are believed to have played a role in him going undrafted.
That said, most of Harper's shortcomings have been about inconsistent or underdeveloped technique and questions about his instincts.
The positives in his game include athleticism, explosiveness, size, and length--all elements that likely drew the Giants' attention (they were said to have wanted to sign Harper as an undrafted free agent last year, but that never came to fruition).
Harper is still very much a project who is going to get his opportunity in spot situations. But as of last year, he was still a long way off in terms of challenging for any kind of regular playing time.
Harper signed a one-year contract extension with the Giants worth $780,000, which does not include a signing bonus.
That old saying--you don't give up on talent--applies in Harper's case. The young man has talent, but as of last year was as raw as they came in coverage, where he posted a 158.3 NFL rating in 28 coverage snaps.
Although the Giants added two more corners in the draft (Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams), Harper still has a legitimate chance at a roster spot if he can continue cleaning up his technique and developing his instincts.
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