K-State’s Harper brings added physicality to receiving unit
Chris Harper can trace the origins of his football career to the basketball court. Harper, a physical wide receiver who the Seahawks selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday, played in the post most of his basketball career, despite being not much taller than 6 feet 0.
“I just developed a mentality to play bigger than what I was, and it just carried over to me playing receiver,” Harper said. “It’s helped me out a lot.”
That certainly was the case at Kansas State, where Harper played three years as a receiver. He played inside for a year and primarily outside as a senior. He led K-State with 58 catches for 857 yards as a senior.
Harper will join a crowded and talented Seahawks’ receiving corps. Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate all return from solid 2012 seasons, and the Seahawks made a big splash by trading for dynamic Percy Harvin in the offseason.
Harper had a knack for going up and getting jump balls at K-State; four of his five touchdowns his junior year were on fade routes. He’s also a capable blocker, having lined up at wide receiver for a K-State team that predominantly ran the ball.
“I’m a lot more comfortable than most guys because we ran the ball so much,” Harper said. “It helps a lot, making me more a complete receiver.”
Harper started off as a quarterback at Oregon – Pete Carroll actually visited his high school when Carroll was still at USC – but he said he injured his shoulder and “never got the full confidence back in the arm.”
Harper then transferred to K-State to be closer to home; he is from Wichita, Kan. Harper has only been playing receiver for a little less than three years and could use more polish as a route runner.
But he is a receiver who plays bigger than his height and brings more physicality to the Seahawks’ receiving unit.
12:08: Seahawks draft Rice tight end Luke Wilson in the fifth round. Wilson had nine catches for 126 yards as a senior and battled injuries. He also played behind 49ers second-round pick Vance McDonald. He had better production in his two previous years and the Seahawks liked his athletic ability for a guy his size.
11:20: Lots of action just took place. First, the Seahawks traded a fifth-round pick (165) and a sixth-round pick (199) to move up and take Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams with the 137th-overall pick, coming in the fifth round. They made the trade with the Detroit Lions. The Seahawks actually moved up ahead of themselves and quickly turned around and drafted LSU cornerback Tharold Simon in the fifth round with pick No. 138.
Williams, an Australian, was thought by some to go in the second round heading into the draft. Simon was arrested on Thursday and “charged with public intimidation, resisting arrest and unnecessary noise,” according to reports. Friday also was supposed to be “Tharold Simon Day” in his hometown of Eunice, La. He is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback that fits the mold of what the Seahawks want from their cornerbacks physically.
10:17: Seahawks select Kansas State receiver Chris Harper in the fourth round. Harper is 6 feet 0 and 234 pounds. I saw him play quite a bit in college (I covered the University of Kansas before coming up here). He is a physical receiver who has a knack for making plays.
Harper had 58 catches for 857 yards and three touchdowns as a senior. He started his career at Oregon as a quarterback but transferred to Kansas State and developed into one of the school’s best receivers.
I always thought Harper was great at going up and getting the ball, even though he’s only 6 feet tall. Harper transferred from Oregon, he said, to be closer to his home; he grew up in Wichita, Kan.
The Seahawks have 10 picks on the final day of the draft (they added two after trading down in the second round yesterday). I’ll update the blog with information on all their picks today, so check back as the day goes on.
Seahawks could be looking for a linebacker, offensive lineman, quarterback or receiver. Or they could be looking for something completely different. With the Seahawks, you just never really know.
Second-round pick: Texas A&M running back Christine Michael
Third-round pick: Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill