Wide receiver Josh Harper ran a 4.64 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month.
And he’s still not at all happy about that time in the 40-yard dash.
The former Fresno State star is eager to improve on that time at Wednesday’s Pro Day at Bulldog Stadium and show NFL teams he’s better than what he showed.
“I don’t think I ran to my capability,” Harper said. “That’s behind me and I’ve got a chance to redeem myself — and I believe I’m going to do well with this run at Pro Day.”
Harper said he wasn’t too pleased about his vertical jump either, which was 32.0 inches. He said he’s 50-50 whether to try to improve on that mark as well Wednesday or concentrating solely on his 40 time.
On hand to watch Harper will be his father, Willie Harper, who was selected in the second round (41st overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1973 NFL draft and went on to play 11 years as a linebacker. Harper, who had back-to-back 1,000-plus yards receiving for the Bulldogs, seeks advice from his father whenever he can.
“Every time I talk to my dad he gives me something new,” said Harper, who finished his Bulldogs career with 2,938 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns. “Every time I talk to my dad he just speaks knowledge and I just soak it all up. He helps me every way possible.”
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. said “Pro Day is important” for Harper and projects him to get picked on the third day of the draft which will be in Chicago on April 30 (first round), May 1 (second and third rounds) and May 2 (fourth through seventh rounds).
Harper’s strength may be his hands, as well as his ways of creating separation to get to the ball. He also said he knows there are things he needs to improve on in addition to his time.
“I would also say just technique — different types of techniques that are needed in the NFL,” he said.
Tim DeRuyter said he wants to see Harper run a better time, but the Fresno State coach also added that Harper has more to offer NFL teams.
“I think he can … show these guys that he’s faster than what he showed at the combine,” DeRuyter said. “You turn on the film, he’s faster than what he was timed at. He didn’t show them that in the Senior Bowl or at the Combine. He has tremendous ball skills and he’s a high-character guy that I think they’re going to like in the locker room.”
That was the message Harper said he received from his dad.
“I told him how I felt and how I was bummed about my 40 time,” he said. “But he told me I have another time I can improve on at the Pro Day. He told me not to stress too much about it. He told me to prove everybody wrong that I can run a better time.”