Insider on New Giants Addition: ‘Wouldn’t Be Surprised to See Him Starting’

Insider calls out Giants for Gatekeeping

Getty New York Giants.

It’s not typical to see an NFL organization hand another team’s practice squad player a sizeable signing bonus in hopes of prying him away. However, Madre Harper may not be your typical practice squad player.

Harper is set to sign with the Giants on Thursday after protocols and physicals. The cornerback terminated his practice squad contract with the Raiders on Tuesday after Big Blue handed him a $25K signing bonus as an added push to get the undrafted free-agent to jump ship, per numerous sources.

It’s Easy to See Why the Giants Are Intrigued By Harper

While the former Southern Illinois standout may not carry the high-end draft status some may look for in a young defensive back, you wouldn’t be able to tell based off his near-elite traits.

Checking in at 6-foot-1-inch and 196-pounds, the 2019 honorable mention All-MVFC selection was not invited to this past year’s NFL combine but had he been, he’d have likely lit it up.

Here’s what SB Nation’s Alistair Corp had to say about Harper’s head-turning Pro Day back in March:

Had he [Harper] been invited to the combine, he would’ve ranked 5th in the forty-yard dash (4.41), 3rd in the vertical jump (40”), 3rd in the short shuttle (4.1) and 1st in the three cone (6.7) among corners. On top of his superb athleticism, he has the requisite size (6-foot-2, 196 pounds) and arm length in the 98th percentile for corners, at 33 7/8”.

While his testing numbers are certainly intriguing, his on-field play with the Salukis wasn’t half bad either. Harper ranked 17th in the country with 12 total pass breakups as a senior. Furthermore, his 23.5% forced incompletion percentage from this past college football season tied for eighth amongst cornerback prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft, per Pro Football Focus. The player that Harper was tied with? Ex-National Champion and Cowboys second-round pick, Trevon Diggs.

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Giants Unsure What They Are Getting

By most accounts, Harper left a lasting impression with the Raiders this summer and was believed to be a part of their future plans. With that said, he also failed to make Las Vegas’ initial 53-man roster out camp and has yet to play a single snap in an NFL game.

To add even more mystery to a player who many fans had never heard of prior to Tuesday, it appears Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson fell into that same boat.

“Right now I don’t know a lot about him,” Henderson told stated on Tuesday, per The New York Daily News. “I just found out from Coach Joe that we had signed him, and Coach Joe took a look at him and really liked his physical skill set and his demeanor as a player and thought it was a guy we’d benefit from having on the roster. So I’m excited to work with him and get to know the kid.”

Still, with a glaring hole opposite James Bradberry at cornerback, chances are Harper sees the field earlier rather than later. In fact, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan is already envisioning Harper in the G-Men’s starting lineup, claiming that he “wouldn’t be surprised to see him [Harper] starting in a few weeks.”

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