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UDFA Snapshot: Chris Harper

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Harper had a productive career at Cal, but is facing an uphill battle to make the roster.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It's unclear if the Patriots want to keep 4 or 5 WRs (not counting Matthew Slater). Chris Harper is another name to throw into the mix. He's not the best WR in the Height-Weight-Speed Measurables, but isn't a completely useless commodity for the team. From scouting reports I've read, Harper is a very good route runner that's fluid in his breaks. If you go by just 40 splits, the 5-10-5 shuttle, and 3-cone numbers you will probably try to figure out why the numbers don't match the tape. Some players just overcome their athletic measurables (Wes Welker, Danny Amendola) and become productive pass catchers when called upon.

Pro Day Numbers:

HT: 5'10 1/4"
WT: 182
10-20-40: 1.59-2.62-4.53
5-10-5 Shuttle: 4.36
3-Cone: 7.03
Vertical: 35"
Broad Jump: 10'0"

Video:

vs. Ohio State (2013)

vs. Washington State (2013)

Harper is facing an uphill battle to make the Patriots roster with bigger and faster receivers ahead of him. Harper does have good run after the catch ability and could be a factor in the returner mix. In order to carve out a spot on the roster, he's going to have to be a better returner than Danny Amendola. From his tape, Harper shows that he has a knack of getting open against college CBs and making would-be tacklers miss in the open field, but struggled a bit when matched up against Doran Grant, who ended up getting picked in the 2014 draft. There are concerns about his wiry build, particularly since he'll be seeing a lot of snaps in the slot on the practice field.

I see a bit of Wes Welker in his game, he just plays better than his measurables. I don't think he'll end up cracking the roster over the guys ahead of him because Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Josh Boyce all provide a similar game and are better conditioned for the NFL game. Harper should get a lot of return chances for the team in preseason since Belichick is unlikely to give Amendola and Edelman too many reps in those games when they just need to get a bit of work in and leave healthy. Harper has a better shot of sticking than Gardner, but I could see a team picking him up on waivers trying to find the next Wes Welker.