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Possibility at 17: Percy Harvin

As we head for the Draft, Gang Green Nation will take a look at some potential picks for the team. Today we will profile Percy Harvin, a wide receiver from the University of Florida.

What NFL Draft Countdown thinks:

Strengths:
Outstanding athleticism...Good size and bulk...Real cut with a strong, muscular build...Excellent speed and quickness...Great acceleration with a burst...Has soft, reliable hands...Good ball skills and body control...Extremely elusive and is a terror in space...Nice balance and agility...Terrific vision and instincts...Can get vertical and separate...Is not afraid to work the middle...Has the ability to break tackles...Tough and competitive...Hard worker...Offers a lot of versatility...Big upside.

Weaknesses:
Durability is a major concern...Very raw as a route runner...'Tweener who might not have a true position...Is not overly physical...Just an average blocker...Did not play in a pro style offense...Never returned a single punt or kick  in college...Has character and off-the-field issues.

What SB Nation's Mocking the Draft thinks:

Strengths: Harvin possesses possibly the best first step off the line not only in this draft class, but of the last several years. He's explosive off the snap, which allows him to immediately get open on slants routes. Harvin bursts into and out of his cuts with an strong plant foot. Coaches said he is a strong competitor with great work ethic. Has incredible elusiveness and can score on any possession. Intelligently cuts back to gain extra yards going against the flow of the traffic. Will go over the middle on occasion. Has the agility to make extraordinary catches look easy. An intelligent player who has lined up at multiple receiver spots, running back and even quarterback.

Weaknesses: Where does he play? Much like Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints, Harvin might be good at a lot of different things, but a master of none. He might not be able to be relied on as a true No. 1 receiver and is far too slender to regularly carry the ball as a running back. Has a long history of injury problems. While he may missed five games in three years, he was banged up and unproductive in several contests. In 2007, Harvin sat out two games with the flu, so his toughness is somewhat questionable. For such an explosive and fast player, it's somewhat of a surprise that Harvin never returned a punt or kick at Florida. While it's probably due to the Gators having so much talent and speed, it makes you question Harvin's ability to do this and even his vision somewhat.

What I think:

Harvin is definitely an intriguing prospect. He is a wealthy man's Brad Smith in terms of explosiveness with the ball in space. Brian Schottenheimer would have fun lining him up all over the field. His speed would give the Jets a receiver who could get open deep and perhaps open things up underneath for Cotchery and Stuckey. Defenses might have trouble accounting for Harvin and Leon Washington, both of whom would be threats to score every time they touch the ball, when they were on the field at the same time.

Even with these positives I am not convinced Harvin is the right pick. It has nothing to do with him not returning kicks at Florida. With Washington and Jim Leonhard around, the team is set in that department. Even if Harvin had to return kicks, it is not too difficult of a thing to learn, especially for somebody with his athleticism. It just does not seem that Harvin is ready to step in and start at receiver. Sure, he is dangerous with the ball in his hands, and he could stretch a defense. However, his route running is still a work in progress. Things may change with a new coach and a new quarterback, but Brian Schottenheimer's offense seems to be based primarily around the short passing game in which routes are integral. Harvin is a guy who can add another dimension to keep defenses honest, but it is difficult to justify using a first rounder on a guy who does not profile as a three down player. This coupled with a bad injury history might make him too much of a risk at 17.