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Devy Spotlight: Tyler Harrell, WR, Louisville

Tyler Harrell may be overlooked right now, after this year with Alabama he won’t be. @MandrewNFL breaks down his skillset in his latest Devy Spotlight.

Alabama has become the happy place for many a transfer player. One flying under the radar this summer is Tyler Harrell. He left Louisville after an explosive junior season with the Cardinals. He hopes to make an even bigger impact by landing in Tuscaloosa with the explosive Crimson Tide offense. 

Harrell had no problem producing with just 18 receptions in 2021, tallying 523 yards to go with those. With Bryce Young passing the ball, he can hope those numbers jump up. Even if they don’t, the Alabama offense should allow him to showcase a wider variety in terms of skill and route tree. 

From One Explosive Offense to Another

Tyler Harrell wasn’t highly sought after by any means coming out of high school. He was listed as 6’0” and weighing 165 pounds, a tough frame to build on for some coaches. Louisville was the biggest school to give him an official offer, so he jumped at that first chance he got. Once at Louisville, however, he would have to sit and wait as he grew into his frame.

Once the staff could see what they had in Harrell, they took the saddle off his play style. He was never asked to do much other than try and take the top off defenses. He could do that but not as much as he would have liked. He decided to enter the transfer portal to see himself grow and expand as a receiver. He didn’t take long to decide, and it may prove his best career move. After getting the proper attention, we saw what Jameson Williams would turn into at Alabama. Harrell may be next.

PFF Grades

When you look at Tyler Harrell and his numbers on PFF, there are a couple of things that stand out. One major one was he only had five contested targets in all of 2021. That matches what you see on film with the fact that he gets separation on nearly every route run. The way he separates is similar to what we saw with Christian Watson this last season, which was against FCS defenders.

The other noticeable stat on his PFF sheet is his NFL quarterback passer rating when targeted. Whenever Malik Cunningham, or anyone under center, targeted him, they had a whopping 118.8 passer rating. For someone who runs an average depth of target of 25.3 yards, that is high. Usually, downfield passing is the high-risk, high-reward, but with Harrell, it is more of a sure thing.

What You See When Watching Him 

Separation

Not many receivers can separate with the ease that Harrell showed he could this past season. He can do it with subtle hip movements, footwork, and, most naturally, his speed. When he separates, it isn’t by a yard or two, which is all a quarterback should need. He does it by five to ten yards. Earlier I mentioned that level of separation was something we saw last year with Christian Watson in the FCS. Harrell doing it in the ACC is impressive. If he can do it against SEC corners, we may have to move him up the rankings.

Long Speed

Do you think I wasn’t going to highlight that speed I have gushed about so much already? We have talked a lot already about his speed, but we haven’t discussed the special level of it. We have seen smaller, lankier guys come into the NFL as of late. None have found a home or meaningful role in the NFL as of late. The speed Tyler Harrell is likely to test at, a 40-yard dash in the sub 4.3 area, will have teams losing their mind. He likely won’t be a team’s number one receiver, but he will surely be a playmaker who can be a fun fantasy asset.

He’s not a number one receiver, and it’s okay. His value is sure to be all over the place. It is a true case that beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. If you want a receiver who may not be your best friend in a PPR format but has a lot of touchdowns, then he is your guy. If you want your receivers to be peppered with targets, he may not be. No matter what, he deserves your attention while we see what he turns into, which is at the very least an entertaining player.

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