Where Cardinals stand on Marvin Harrison Jr. after combine

The Cardinals are already deep into their work on 2023 Biletnikoff winner and former Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals didn't get a chance to watch former Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. work out during the NFL combine after he opted out of the on-field drills in Indianapolis, but it won't seem to matter.

They're already deep into their work on the two-time All-American, Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort said at the combine.

"Marvin's been a great player," Ossenfort said this week. "He's been a productive player these last couple years. It's a strong receiver draft, it is. There's good players at the top of the draft, there's good depth throughout the mid-rounds.

"I really don't want to get into an individual scouting report right now. All I can tell you is we've done a lot of work on Marvin, just like we have in the rest of the draft, and we're excited to continue to work him here through the process for the next couple months."

Harrison was one of at least five receivers the Cardinals interviewed and the team walked away impressed with him, a source told ESPN. Ossenfort believes the more information he can gather on a prospect, the better. Arizona coach Jonathan Gannon feels like the Cardinals have the necessary tools to evaluate Harrison even without a combine workout.

Multiple sources told ESPN that Harrison's decision to not work out won't affect him.

"I think he will be fine," one personnel source told ESPN.

Another one said: "It can't hurt him."

Harrison, who is the first non-QB to come off ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's latest board, also did not appear for his scheduled news conference Friday.

In three seasons at Ohio State, Harrison had 155 receptions for 2,613 yards -- including 1,000-yard seasons in 2022 and 2023 -- and 31 receiving touchdowns. He was a 2023 Heisman finalist and also won the Biletnikoff award, which is college football's most prestigious honor for wide receivers.

While the sentiment around Indianapolis was that Harrison was the top wide receiver prospect in this year's draft, there was a growing belief among teams that the gap between Harrison, Washington's Rome Odunze and LSU's Malik Nabers wasn't all that large. Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard described the 2024 receiver class as having "depth at every level" and compared it to the 2020 draft when the likes of Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Michael Pittman Jr. and CeeDee Lamb were all taken.

Whether that will affect the Cardinals' approach with the No. 4 pick is months away from playing out. However, Arizona's hand could be forced if Harrison is taken before the Cardinals are on the clock.

"That's one of the challenges of the draft is trying to anticipate," Ossenfort said. "I don't think we're quite at that point yet. ... We're still in the evaluation of our own board and trying to get guys where we think [fit] and where the value [is] and putting them where we think with our team. Further down the line, maybe once we get into April, the last couple weeks leading up to the draft, then we'll start to try and predict what might happen in front of us, behind us, around us."

Arizona traded its No. 3 pick in the 2023 draft to the Houston Texans, a move that "proved we were more than willing to move up, to move back, to stay put," Ossenfort said. And though no one has called for the team's selection in this year's draft, he's "sure those calls will come."

"I think those discussions happen more as we get closer to the draft in April," Ossenfort said. "... And we're going to make our fair share of calls, too."

Harrison's skill set, speed and pedigree, however, were three areas often mentioned around the combine.

One personnel source compared Harrison's hands to DeAndre Hopkins' and being the son of a Hall of Fame receiver naturally gave Harrison a leg up in any debate, another personnel source said. Around the combine, though, personnel sources shied away from making direct comps to Harrison.

"There are similarities to guys but nothing that is spot on," one personnel source said.

Randy Moss, Mike Evans and A.J. Green were names mentioned as receivers with whom Harrison shared traits.

Gannon used one word to describe Harrison: "Playmaker."

"Anytime he touches it he can score points," Gannon said. "That's the name of the game -- score one more point than the other team. I need to watch some more, but he's a playmaker."

The Cardinals ranked No. 26 in receiving yards (3,430) last season, with tight end Trey McBride leading the team in receptions (81) and receiving yards (825). Marquise Brown, who is slated to become a free agent, led the wide receiver corps in receptions (51) and receiving yards (574).

Ballard, the only other general manager who talked about Harrison not working out in Indianapolis, said he would've preferred Harrison work out and added that it would've been a chance for Harrison to "knock it out." Skipping the drills is a trend that's been happening and will continue happening, Ossenfort said.

But Harrison may also be the exception.

As Ballard put it, "Not everyone's Marvin Harrison."