Boise State fans have become well acquainted with D.J. Harper over the last 6 years thanks to his stellar play and no thanks to his balky knees. Now, thanks to a solid senior year, a passing grade at the Combine and a stellar Pro Day, Harper may get a chance to make an NFL team his home for even longer. Here's the buzz on Doug Martin's predecessor AND successor.
Harper didn't blow away NFL scouts, by any stretch, but he showed enough to assuage fears that his knees would continue to be a problem. Harper's versatility has won him high marks and the attitude of a guy that rebounded (quickly, I might add) from two significant injuries to rush for over 1,000 yards has gotta be a selling point, right? He didn't get near the NFL.com love that Jamar Taylor did, but here's the good news: he's draftable. The NFL's scouting website gave Harper a 58.8 grade (4th–7th), which means he'll probably wait until Saturday to get a call, but sometimes a chance is all these guys need.
Bleeding Green Nation
Our SB Nation counterparts at Bleeding Green Nation did their (annual?) NFL Draft Positional Top-5 & Top-50 Overall posting and while Harper didn't make their top 5 list (no shocker)...he was included in their "most underrated" list for the draft-eligible RBs. I have to say I agree with their assessment here, although they don't include any justification for it. Harper just hasn't had a ton of opportunities to shine with his injuries and dropping behind Doug Martin. His senior year was solid, but not jaw-dropping. It takes film study to see that Harper has been a solid back ever since his true freshman season all the way back in 2007. Some NFL GMs have watched his tape and that's why I'm confident he'll get a shot, even as an UDFA.
If you haven't heard of Matt Waldman, that's okay...neither had I. However, after stumbling onto his site, The Rookie Scouting Portfolio, I realized that Mr. Waldman does his homework. He has an impressive amount of film on Harper that displays his speed, patience and versatility. Again, no one seems comfortable venturing a guess as to where Harper will end up...just that he has the tools to succeed wherever he lands.
Obviously, there's a bit less buzz surrounding Harper heading into this weekend's draft. However, I think he could have a long and fruitful career in the NFL if given a shot. Where do you think Harper would flourish? Any remaining concerns about his knees?