By John Boyle
The Seahawks used the first of 10 Day 3 picks on receiver Chris Harper, a receiver from Kansas State. Or if you’re a fan of Pac-12 football, you might know him as Chris Harper, the former Oregon quarterback.
Harper, a top recruit out of Wichita, Kansas, went to Oregon as a QB, the moved to receiver. He transferred to K-State after his freshman year and eventually became the Wildcats’ starting flanker.
Harper said the position switch was predicated by a shoulder injury that never fully healed. The move to K-State was because he wanted to be closer to home, Harper said, and he tried to go back to QB there, but the shoulder was still an issue.
At 6-foot, 234 pound, Harper was not surprisingly one of the strongest receivers at the NFL scouting combine (his 20 reps in the bench press were the most for a receiver) but he’s also got pretty good speed, running the 40 in 4.46 seconds.
That size was likely a factor in picking Harper considering how much the Seahawks run the ball—in addition to catching passes, the Seahawks expect receivers to be able to block.
Despite being short, by receiver standards anyway, Harper is known as a player who is good at going up and winning battles for the ball in the air. He said that stems from his days of being an undersized post player on the basketball court.
“It goes back to basketball,” he said. “… It gave me the mentality of playing bigger than I was.”
Harper said he did get a visit from Pete Carroll while in high school, but like a lot of schools, USC wasn’t interested in him as a quarterback.
“I was so stuck on playing quarterback,” he said.
Carroll, like a lot of college coaches, wanted Harper as an athlete, not a quarterback. Years later, he got his man with a fourth-round pick.