Harvin shows ability, durability
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Percy Harvin gave NFL coaches and scouts another look at his ability and durability Wednesday, running routes, catching passes and doing anything asked of him at Florida's annual pro day.
Harvin was clearly the main attraction, overshadowing fellow receiver Louis Murphy, tight end Cornelius Ingram, offensive tackles Jason Watkins and Phil Trautwein and a few others trying to improve their status heading into next month's NFL draft.
"All he did was confirm what you already know, which is he's an explosive athlete and once the ball's in his hands he's got a chance to score from anywhere on the field," Jacksonville Jaguars receivers coach Todd Monken said.
Harvin covered 10 feet, 3 inches in the broad jump, leapt 37 inches in the vertical jump and benched 225 pounds 22 times. He hurried through some shuttle runs and looked as fluid as ever in on-the-field drills.
Maybe most importantly, Harvin was healthy for it all.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound speedster missed five games in three years because of injury and was limited in several more, an issue that could keep him from being a top-10 selection in the draft.
"Most of the time when I got hurt, I was at running back and falling into piles and getting tweaked up," Harvin said.
NFL teams don't quite see it the same way, especially when they're considering guaranteeing millions to a first-round pick.
"Anybody who has a history of being injured, there's a concern," Monken said. "It doesn't matter who it is, if there's a history of injury, a history of not practicing, a history of off-the-field issues, a history of instability -- whatever that may be -- there's a concern there because you've got to have a guy go and produce when you take him as high as he's capable of going in the draft."
Harvin could be the third receiver taken in the first round, behind Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin. Harvin believes he's as good as, if not better than, both of them. He scoffs at those durability questions and points to his versatility.
Harvin finished his college career with 133 receptions for 1,929 yards and 13 touchdowns and 194 carries for 1,852 yards and 19 scores. He averaged 9.5 yards per carry and 11.6 yards every time he touched the ball.
He was at his best in big games, earning MVP honors in the 2006 Southeastern Conference championship game and totaling 171 yards and a touchdown in a victory over Oklahoma in the Bowl Championship Series national title game in January.
He lined up at receiver, running back and quarterback for the Gators but expects to do even more at the next level because several teams have already talked to him about returning kickoffs and punts.
"If you take a guy like Percy, you've got to find a way to get him the ball," Monken said. "He's got to be a returner because he's got a chance to change the game."
Harvin has a workout lined up with the New York Giants on Thursday that includes only special teams drills and then has visits scheduled with the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and several others before the end of the month.
It's like a season of recruiting trips rolled into two weeks, but with a twist.
"It's recruiting with them checking all your injuries and pulling and tugging," Harvin said. "You go to one doctor, then go to another doctor and another. It's a whole 'nother level."
Harvin's injury list includes heel surgery, ankle injuries, migraine headaches, a concussion, a hip pointer, tendinitis in his Achilles tendon and tendinitis in his knee.
When healthy, though, he's typically been the best player on the field.
He handles direct snaps, takes option pitches the distance, catches passes in traffic, finds running lanes and often turns negative plays into big gains.
"There are no questions about Percy," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "Does he get injured once in a while because he's a reckless football player? Yeah. There's a lot of players that run out of bounds. Percy's as good as I've ever seen coming through tackles, and he's reckless and he's only 195 pounds. There are no questions about him."
If there are any, Harvin welcomed them.
"I've dealt with adversity my whole life, so there's nothing I can't handle at the next level," Harvin said. "People who don't go through things, when they get older, it hits them and they don't know how to handle it. I feel like I've been through pretty much everything, so there's nothing I can't handle right now."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press