With the NFL Draft just five days aways and so many teams listing wide receiver in their "needs" column, you'd think that Harry Douglas - he of back-to-back seasons with more than 1,100 receiving yards, and an average of 115.9 ypg as a senior - would be a name being tossed around quite a bit right now. But while the evaluations of his game have been overwhelmingly positive, it's Douglas's size - or lack thereof - that has all but eliminated the possibility of him being taken in the first two rounds.
One team that is looking very hard at Douglas is the New England Patriots, who see the obvious similarities between he and former Louisville standout Deion Branch as well as current Pats star Wes Welker.
PatriotsInsider.com's Ed Thompson recently sat down with Douglas for a fairly candid Q & A session.
Douglas: I think the main thing is my first step. My first step is so quick going off the line, and then I have the speed to accelerate and run by you. My first step is probably quicker than a lot of people think it is.
Thompson: You're the kind of guy that will also lay yourself out for the ball. You aren't afraid to do that, and yet you've been very fortunate with injuries. Since you've had the ankle sprain, has that made you any more tentative about having to throw your body out where you need to make the catch?
Douglas: No, there were some games we had after I had the injury. I didn't care and it didn't matter. The ball was in the air and I was going to try and go get it.
Thompson: Talk about your leadership out on the field. I've had the opportunity to talk to you in person and I can tell from your personality why people respect you and enjoy being around you.
Douglas: I try my best. I try to bring confidence to my team because I always say the best way to go into a game is to go into it with confidence. I'm the person on the team who is always getting people up, people feed off of my energy. Different people you've got to push different ways. I'm a vocal leader, but at the same time you have to lead by your play.
Thompson: I know you approach the game seriously, but it's also very obvious that you're a guy who has an awful lot of fun playing this game, aren't you?
Douglas: Yeah, I love to play the game. I love the limelight. I'm serious about winning, but I laugh a lot out while I'm out there. I just love the game, period. I love being around the game of football.
Thompson: What are you most excited about when you look back on your performance at the Combine?
Douglas: My route running. That's the one thing that I take pride in. I can get in and out of breaks and cuts going full speed and without having to chop my steps. I try to get out my breaks well and come back to the football and catch it well with my hands. Also my three cone, because I had the best three cone out of everybody at the Combine, so I was really excited about that.
Brian Brohm earned most of the headlines after Louisville's Pro Day, but Douglas was also there improving his draft stock, and now we have video proof.
I guess it's hard to fault NFL scouts who take one look at Douglas and automatically put him behind James Hardy or Jordy Nelson, but I sort of feel like a professional gambler with serious inside information here. Successful NFL receivers all have certain characteristics in common, and size isn't one of them. To make it at the next level you have to have to be fast, you have to have great hands, you have to be a superb route-runner, and you have to be fearless. Sound like anyone you've watched play for the last four years?
He probably won't earn the fame that Branch has, and he might not ever be a Pro Bowler, but Harry Douglas will make a name for himself in the NFL.