Before the NFL Draft began, Chris Harper privately made a list of teams that he wanted to play for as a rookie.
So when one of the teams on that list — the Seattle Seahawks — called Saturday afternoon to say they were picking him in the fourth round as the 123rd overall selection, his emotions were easy to predict.
“I am excited,” Harper said. “I am definitely excited. It’s a good fit for me. I watched them play and really like what Russell Wilson does as a quarterback. We have the same mentality. I just like the way they play. They were one of the teams I wanted to go to.”
Harper, a wide receiver who led Kansas State in catches and receiving yards the past two seasons, watched the draft from his home in Wichita with family and friends.
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Seattle coaches informed him of the selection, and then he saw the announcement on TV. The room quickly filled with cheers.
It was a thrilling moment for Harper, a Northwest High product who started his college career at Oregon as a quarterback. But he didn’t celebrate for long.
Harper’s mind quickly turned to his future NFL career, which will begin in two weeks when he reports for rookie practices. He has two immediate goals: Showing Seattle coaches he is worthy of immediate playing time and proving opposing coaches they were foolish not to draft him.
“It’s a dream to get drafted and to know I’ll be playing on the same field as so many great players, but I still have a lot of things to do in the offseason,” Harper said. “I want to prove myself to my new coaches and prove all the other teams wrong that passed on me. I felt like I should have been picked a lot higher.”
Harper was viewed as a late-round draft pick as a senior at K-State. But following a big season and a string of impressive workouts in front of NFL scouts in recent months, some projected him to go as early as the second round.
At 6-foot-1 and 234 pounds, he possesses the size and skills that often help receivers succeed in the NFL.
But he didn’t get picked until late in the fourth round. He plans on using that as motivation heading into his rookie season.
“I thought I was going to get drafted yesterday,” Harper said. “That will help drive me, but I got put in a position where I wanted to be in. I’m definitely happy with how everything worked out.”