Cleveland Browns WR prospect No. 5: Mike Harley, Jr., UDFA from the University of Miami
If they were to name a motorcycle after Mike Harley, Jr., it would not be the Fat Boy. Harley is listed at 5-11 and 182 pounds, more like an Electra Glide.
He appeared in 52 games in five years and set a new school record for career receptions with 182, surpassing former Indianapolis Colts star Reggie Wayne’s 175. He ranks seventh overall with 2,158 career receiving yards and ninth with 15 touchdown receptions.
At his Pro Day, he was timed at 4.44 for his 40-yard dash, 10 feet two inches in the broad, 35.5 inches in the vertical, and 16 reps in the bench press.
So why wasn’t he drafted?
The Hurricanes had a down year overall, and he was not the best receiver on his team as a senior. Charleston Rambo, a transfer from the Sooners, was the superstar of the team, with 1,172 receiving yards. Harley was second in most statistical categories, with 57 catches for 543 yards with five touchdowns.
On the other hand, Rambo didn’t get drafted, either. That kind of thing can happen when the football program has a down year. It is altogether possible that there has been some underutilized talent, and it might very well get sorted out differently at the Pro level.
Harley’s best season was his junior year. That year he was the primary receiving target for D’Eriq King and in that capacity, he averaged 14.0 yards per reception and racked up 799 receiving yards.
Thus, he put up numbers when he was given the opportunity. His senior year was less impressive, but there were a lot of things going wrong that were outside of his control, and which culminated in the firing of coach Manny Diaz. If he had played in a different college program he might have been drafted and we would not be having this conversation.
For undrafted free agents, what matters is the ceiling, or maximum potential, rather than the floor. The floor is the same for everyone — they get cut, pack their bags and leave the team. Harley needs to be viewed as a potential number one receiver who was stuck in a less than ideal situation in college, but who was able to put up numbers.