He has the type of running style that could be effective at the next level, but don't look for him to switch to H-back anytime soon. Has just enough arm talent to make it happen with his feet when the play breaks down. He has yet to prove himself as an accurate passer, and this could hurt his stock, but look for teams to select Harnish in the late rounds as a developmental project or change-of-pace quarterback/running threat.
While scouts can't help but be impressed by Harnish's gaudy statistics, he isn't viewed as a top prospect for the 2012 draft. With the exception of his impressive running skills, Harnish possesses only average size, arm strength and accuracy.
He's a classic field general, however, whose poise late in games helped earn Northern Illinois comeback victories throughout his career, including against Ohio in the MAC Championship and Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl to finish his career. He's a resourceful quarterback whose intangibles could help him earn a roster spot and eventually compete for playing time in a rhythym passing offense that allows him to attack defenses with his feet.
Positives: Athletic quarterback who is a threat to leave the pocket and gain positive yardage at any time. Possesses very good vision as well as balance, elusiveness and deceptive speed and power as a runner. Quick set up and delivery. Appears to have the arm required to make NFL throws...
Throws intermediate crossing routes over the middle with good zip and shows good to very good touch on intermediate and deep balls away from the defender. Has improved his mechanics throughout his career...
A classic field general. Is the clear leader on the field and has engineered several late-game comebacks. Earned the MAC's Vern Smith Leadership Award in 2011...
Negatives: Shorter than scouts would like... Completed 61.7% of his passes as a senior but has only zip-code accuracy, overall. Consistently forces receivers to adjust their routes to catch his passes, eliminating many opportunities for yardage to be gained after the catch. Average arm strength.
Can make every required throw but doesn't possess the arm strength to zip balls past alert defenders in good position. Was effective in this scheme despite rarely being asked to make NFL-caliber throws...
Will have to make the adjustment to taking snaps from under center... Missed six games over the 2008-09 seasons due to a sprained foot, knee... Small hands for the position (8 3/4"). "
He displays a natural feel inside the pocket, keeps his eyes down the field, demonstrates a good mental clock and exhibits good balance when side-stepping pressure.
He can be a bit unorthodox at times and will change throwing angles at times when flushed from pressure, but he is accurate with the football on the move and generates some torque from the waist. Harnish displays only an average arm from the pocket and doesn't routinely spin the cleanest of footballs.
When he keeps his feet under him and strides off his back foot, he does have the ability to fit the ball in at the second level. However, he wastes motion with his footwork in his drop, gets narrow and will bounce in the pocket before opening up his footwork in order to step into throws.
I would like to see him stand with a bit more width from the pocket. However, he displays a quicker deliver and will get the ball out quickly.
Harnish does a nice job manipulating defenses initially off the snap, will look off defenders in the deep half, quickly getting his footwork round to deliver the football. However, he has a tendency to routinely pop upright and fall off his bucket throws, causing passes to hang in him vertically.
But when he needs to go 40+ yards down the field, he will step into his throws more and spin it with much better velocity. He looks natural at the snap going through his pre-snap reads, figuring out the defender and getting the ball out quickly to his initial man.
However, he only really finds secondary targets with consistency when flushed from the pocket and when in escape mode. He showcases good short-area quickness and is a sneaky athlete in the open field. He has a strong upper body, can slip off some tackler and will find the first down chains with his legs in the NFL.
Impression: A gritty quarterback prospect who is accurate and can move the chains with his legs. A typical overachieving MAC QB who has been told all his life he's not good enough, but has enough to mature and develop into a reserve at the next level."
Weaknesses: The mental side of his game has yet to catch up with the physical. He very rarely goes through his progressions and has a tendency to lock onto his first option. If the first option is covered he takes off. He will need a lot of time to develop into a starting quarterback in the NFL. Reminscent of Dan LeFevour.
Bottom Line: Harnish brings a ton of physical tools to the game which could intrigue scouts from a developmental standpoint. A four-year starter that will need time to master an NFL playbook. He may be worth the risk in round 4 of the draft.
Draft Projection: Harnish is a player with some upside that should go between rounds 4 and 5."
Good on-field playing temperament — shows command and plays with confidence.
Tends to toss a loose wobbler and will need to hasten his throwing motion.
Is a three-year starter who has progressed steadily and shows NFL-caliber arm action and enough athletic ability to make plays.
Placement is inconsistent and will have to adapt to snaps from under center.
Has upside to be groomed in a short, rhythm-timing passing game. Senior production stands to benefit from a new coaching staff featuring a pass-heavy offense underneath the direction of Matt Canada (Indiana)."
has a thick lower body and can take a hit, but has had problems with a knee and likely won’t be able to take the same kind of hits at the next level;
Accurate passer completed 65% of his throws for 21 scores against just 5 picks last year; isn’t all that tall at barely 6-2, but reads the field, makes smart decisions in the pocket and has a quick, compact delivery; also has enough arm strength to make all the throws, but deep outs can take a while to get there;
Known as a real character player with excellent leadership intangibles; outstanding student in the classroom with a 3.7 GPA in business management."
Terrific athletic ability, ran for 1,382 yards as a senior, averaged 7.5 yards per carry... Elusive when on the run, does a good job of avoiding the big hit and has some creative moves... Can break tackles, does a good job of shedding tacklers and getting the tough yards...
Will manipulate and bait defenses with his legs to pull defenders off his receivers... A great competitor and motivator... First-class intangibles, leads by example... Does a lot of community service work and is active within his community...
Already earned his degree and is pursuing his master's degree in business... Extremely productive, a four year starter who broke multiple Northern Illinois records.
Negatives -- Has a below-average arm, struggles when asked to push the ball downfield... Loses his accuracy when throwing down the field, misses some throws he shouldn't... Needs to improve his mechanics, doesn't have a consistent throwing motion and will get sloppy with his footwork... Lacks ideal height for an NFL quarterback...
MAC quarterbacks haven't translated to the NFL since Roethlisberger came out of Miami (OH) in 2004, there's been a long trail of highly touted MAC QBs who put up big numbers, but none have found success in the NFL... Played in a gimmicky offense, worked primarily out of the shotgun with zone read plays, designed runs, and a lot of short passes...
Wasn't asked to make many of the plays and reads that he'll need to at the NFL level... Many of the things he does well aren't things that are necessary to succeed in the NFL, has a low ceiling due to his lack of size and arm strength."
Northern Illinois quarterback prospect Chandler Harnish is the type of player who shows you what he does with those physical tools.
With adequate height and a solid arm to go with it, Harnish is an intriguing middle round prospect who at times does things his own way; whether it be changing his release point or throwing the ball off his back foot, he just gets the job done.
His teammates rally around him and he's got all the right leadership qualities. One thing that can be measured is his consistent accuracy. Harnish can definitely hit the target in the numbers with regularity.
Harnish does well to read through his progressions, look off his primary receiver and has a natural feel for the pocket. He's got a sharp, concise delivery and can make most every throw in the playbook.
His technique will need polish, but more importantly he'll have to learn when to use more sound fundamentals and when it is okay to improvise. A nice added bonus is that he has pretty good mobility."