Harbor Plays Waiting Game in Anticipation of This Weekend's NFL Draft
Missouri State tight end Clay Harbor has a chance to make history this weekend. The consensus All-American tight end will be sitting with his family in Dwight, Ill., waiting for his name to be called during the NFL Draft and contemplating the possibility of being the first Division I FCS player selected this year.
After a successful showing at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, solid performances in two college football all-star games, stealing the show at Missouri State's first NFL pro day, and seven visits to NFL teams, Harbor says he is ready.
"It's been a long road with the combine, the all-star games and the training along with the pre-draft visits," he said. "It's all leading up to this, and it's pretty exciting to see where you're going to end up and where you're going to be playing football next."
The 75th NFL draft begins with the first round on Thursday night (April 22), while the second and third rounds are Friday. The seven-round draft concludes Saturday. Harbor is projected to be drafted somewhere between the third and fifth rounds, according to most sources. The Sporting News, which has been consistently the most pro-Harbor draft publication, predicts him as the No. 91 overall pick which would land him late in the third round and make him the first non-FBS player taken.
Still, Harbor says whether he is selected Friday night or Saturday, he is keeping a calm outlook and will go about business as usual, at least until the draft is done.
"I really don't have big plans," he said. "I am going to work out, hang out with the family, and maybe celebrate a little bit with my family once I'm drafted."
No Bear has been drafted since 2000 when another tight end, Brad St. Louis, was the 210th overall pick by the Bengals. St. Louis, like Harbor, was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Silver Anniversary Team in 2009, and recently completed his nine-and-a-half year pro career with Cincinnati.
Missouri State has had 15 players drafted in the program's history, including guard Tom Mullen who was the 28th overall selection in 1974 and No. 2 pick of the second round when the Giants picked him up. The Bears also have had two sixth-round picks -- Mike Murphy in 1979 (Oilers) and Keith Williams in 1986 (Falcons).
Harbor says representing the Bears, the Missouri Valley Football Conference and FCS players in general is a banner he is proud to carry.
"I root for all the FCS guys in the draft," he said "I love saying I'm from Missouri State and showing players from bigger programs that I can compete and play at the next level."
Time will tell how Harbor's NFL dreams play out, but MSU's career leader in receptions and the nation's top receiving tight end last season has high hopes. He has consistently impressed pro scouts and coaches with the consistency of his routes, as well as his power, speed and great hands. At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, he also has the size to play multiple positions in most offensive schemes which has the potential to make him more valuable to NFL suitors.
"A lot of teams look at my ability to play multiple positions as a strength," Harbor said. "I played receiver most of my life, then moved to tight end my second year at Missouri State. No matter where they put me -- whether it's special teams, fullback, h-back, or tight end -- I feel I can help a team be successful."
Missouri State Draft History
NFL Network Draft Coverage: The NFL draft moves to primetime for the first time in 2010, with the first round taking place Thurs., April 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the second and third rounds on Fri., April 23 at 6 p.m. ET. Rounds 4-7 will be held Sat., April 24 at 10 a.m. ET. Watch the entire draft live on NFL Network.