We thought that with the additions of Myles White and Jake Stoneburner to the active roster from the practice squad earlier this week, the Green Bay Packers would likely be done adding receivers for the time being. Nonetheless, on Thursday we suggested a few options for the Packers to consider if they were to continue looking for help at receiver. Well, the Packers have apparently added another player, but one who was off our radar because he was on an active roster until just recently.
Bill Williamson of ESPN brings us this news:
#49ers According to source WR Chris Harper claimed by #Packers— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) October 18, 2013
Well that's interesting. Harper is a very interesting speed/size prospect at the receiver position. He is listed at 6'1" and 229 pounds, so he has the body type of a receiver/tight end hybrid. The thing that sets that apart, though, is that he ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and a 4.45 at his Pro Day.
Harper was waived by the 49ers yesterday in a move that many speculate is a space-clearing move for a defensive lineman. He was a 4th-round draft pick this spring by the Seattle Seahawks, but he was released on the final cut-down day and San Francisco signed him to the active roster immediately thereafter, reportedly with the intent of making him into a tight end.
Harper started his collegiate career at Oregon playing quarterback, but he was more of an all-purpose weapon during his freshman year in 2008 - he completed 4 of 9 passes for 40 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions, but he also ran the ball 35 times for 137 yards and two scores as well as caught 9 balls for 122 yards and two more touchdowns.
After his freshman season, Harper transferred to Kansas State, where he redshirted in 2009 and was converted to receiver. In three years at K-State, Harper racked up 122 catches for 1,725 yards and 12 touchdowns, with his best season coming as a senior. He was not active for the 49ers for any game in 2013.
Harper will almost certainly be inactive for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, but is an intriguing physical specimen for the Packers moving forward. Considering that the Packers typically like their tight ends 6'3" or taller, it seems likely that he will be in the team's plans at wideout instead.
UPDATE: It is probably no surprise, but the Packers have waived rookie running back Michael Hill to make room for Harper. Hill is still eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers.
The #Packers have released RB Michael Hill to make room for WR Chris Harper on the roster. Fielded kickoffs against Baltimore— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) October 18, 2013
UPDATE #2: Danny Kelly of Field Gulls tells us that Harper's playing weight in training camp was around 238 pounds rather than the listed 229. If he's still at that weight, perhaps Green Bay will indeed look at him as a tight end prospect rather than a wideout.
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